By Lisa Kadango in Pretoria, South Africa
Pretoria, November 10, Mana: Government has described Malawi’s bilateral working visits by President Dr Lazarus Chakwera to neighbouring countries as vital, saying they will help Malawi regain her position of influence within Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Region.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Eisenhower Mkaka said this on Monday ahead of the State President’s two-day working visit to Republic of South Africa.
Mkaka said there is need to cement the long-time relationship between the two countries as it will benefit the people of the two countries in all areas of development.
“The two leaders will among other things discuss issues surrounding trade and mining.
“These are the issues that matter most to most Malawians living in South Africa and beyond,” explained Mkaka.
He further described President Chakwera’s impending visit to South Africa as a milestone, saying the visit will strengthen trade opportunities between the two countries and attract potential investors.
“It is very crucial to maintain a healthy relationship and discuss matters that do matter to people in terms of trade between the two countries,’’ stressed Mkaka.
The Foreign Affairs Minister also emphasised on the need for regional integration and closer economic collaboration in all the key sectors.
“SADC as a region talks about integration, industrialization and more important things such as value addition and matters that are of value to the development of countries, hence the need for southern African countries to work together,’’ he said.
The minister further expressed concern that Malawi has not been an active member of regional and international bodies such as Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), SADC and the United Nations, hence the need to closely interact with other members within these bodies.
According to Mkaka, the visit by president Chakwera to South Africa will also provide the opportunity to the two leaders to learn from each other and maintain the foundation for a healthy and strong relationship between them.
He said the discussions will focus on strengthening economic cooperation.
President Lazarus Chakwera has recently been visiting neighboring countries such as Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zimbabwe to strengthen Malawi’s bilateral relations.
South Africa is Malawi’s largest trade partner and the richest in Southern Africa. The country has excellent diplomatic relations with Malawi.