Lilongwe: VP Naidu hails India, Malawi relationship

Lilongwe: Vice President Venkaiah Naidu on Monday hailed the cordial and friendly relationship between India and Malawi and asserted that the former is ready to become a valuable partner in assisting the economic development of the African nation.

Addressing the Malawi-India Business meet in the capital city of Lilongwe, Vice President Naidu said, “Malawi is a country with great potential. It is rich in natural resources like high-quality coal, rare earth materials like Uranium, Niobium etc and can become a good source of rare earth and other minerals. Malawi can take advantage of the current high growth trajectory of the Indian economy. India would be happy to become a valuable partner in the economic development of Malawi.”

“India and Malawi share very cordial and friendly relationship. The two countries hold identical views on many regional, international and multilateral issues. Both the countries have been engaged in trading much before formally establishing the diplomatic relations,” he added.

Hailing the Malawi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Vice President Naidu said, “There are natural synergies and complementarities between the two economies and we need to tap them for our mutual benefit.”

“Simultaneously, Indian companies could form partnerships in Malawi both for the domestic economy and for the wider Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA),” he added.

“The key areas with potential for two-way trade and investment engagement include mining of coal and rare earth minerals, power generation, equipment manufacture, information and communication technology, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, food processing, auto components, medical devices, defence production, infrastructure and tourism sectors,” Naidu further said.

Vice President Naidu also appreciated the Government of India’s (GOI) efforts in health sector programmes that have encouraged the Malawi nationals to make India a preferred destination.

“The Government of India (GOI) has cooperated and assisted Malawi in the health sector on numerous occasions. The most recent development comes in the form of a partnership between Medical health insurer, MedHealth, and Yashoda Hospitals of India to enhance the rapid evacuation (medevac) of patients in emergency situations as well as cashless foreign referrals for patients who require specialised medical treatment,” Vice President Naidu noted.

“I am happy to note that in the last few years, India has become the preferred destination for Medical treatment for Malawians, due to its state of the art and affordable treatment and post-treatment facilities,” he added.

Noting that Malawi can significantly benefit from India’s Small and Medium Enterprises sector (SME), Vice President Naidu underscored, “The Small and Medium Enterprises sector is key to India’s economy. Over the last few decades, we have made significant progress and we are continuously making further improvements. You would be happy to know the pace-setter initiative recently announced by PM Modi Ji i.e. ‘MSME Support and Outreach Program’.”

“As Malawi’s economy is also largely based on agriculture and SME sector, you can perhaps benefit from India’s experience,” he added.

Vice President Naidu also hailed India’s meteoric growth that has helped it become the sixth largest economy in the world.

“India has recently become the 6th largest economy in the world with a GDP of US dollars 2.6 trillion. The IMF has estimated that India will grow at 7.8% in 2019. India is moving fast forward to transform itself into a modern 21st-century inclusive economy,” he added.

Vice President Naidu also praised the Centre’s ambitious plan and the numerous measures it has taken to transform India completely.

“Our Government has taken a number of measures. An ambitious plan to build next-generation infrastructure including 100 Smart Cities, 10 green-field airports, 7 high-speed train corridors, 5 major ports, highways and nation-wide broadband connectivity linking our villages and urban areas is underway,” he said.

“Nearly 10 thousand kilometres of national highways were built during the last one year. That is an average of 27 kilometres per day. 111 rivers have been identified as National Waterways and we are modernizing our railways. New metros in the urban centres and dedicated freight corridors are being built. We have set a target to produce 175 Gigawatt of clean, renewable energy by 2022,” he said.