11 September 2012
South Africa and Malawi have agreed to facilitate greater private sector interaction in order to boost trade and investment between the two countries, Deputy International Relations Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim told reporters on Friday.
Ebrahim was speaking after a meeting of the Joint Commission for Cooperation between South Africa and Malawi in Pretoria on Friday. Ebrahim co-chaired the meeting with Malawi Foreign Minister Ephraim Mganda Chiume Chiume.
“We have noted with great satisfaction the noticeable progress that has been achieved in strengthening the political and economic cooperation between our countries,” Ebrahim said.
“Of significance is the increasing number of legal instruments that are being negotiated to facilitate our partnership. In this regard, we agreed to speed up the negotiations so that these instruments could be signed during 2013.”
Officials from the two foreign ministries will meet every six months to check up on progress in the trade agreements between Pretoria and Lilongwe.
Malawi is South Africa’s ninth largest export destination in Africa and ranked 10th with regard to South Africa’s imports from the continent.
Earlier this year, South Africa agreed to extend a loan of US$35-million to the government of Malawi to help with the availability of fuel in that country, following a meeting between President Jacob Zuma and Malawian President Joyce Banda. The loan will be made in three instalments, with the first, of $10-million, having been paid on 24 April.
According to the World Bank, from 2005, Malawi enjoyed uninterrupted solid growth for five years in a row, averaging about seven percent, backed by sound economic policies and a supportive donor environment.
Growth slowed from a peak of 9.7 percent in 2008 to an estimated 5 percent in 2011.