By Patricia Kapulula
Malawi and the United Kingdom have discussed and agreed on ways and means of providing support to improve livelihoods as one way of ensuring that there is a shift to move development from the city to rural areas.
President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika and UK Secretary of State for Trade and Investment, Graham Stuart held discussions in London on Monday on the side-lines of the UK-Africa Investment Summit where they discussed the need to recognise people in the rural areas.
Stuart told the Malawi media after the discussions that improving rural livelihoods is important in ensuring that development is spread across all areas.
He hailed the Malawi leader for his determination to increase investment opportunities in Malawi especially for the rural masses.
“We talked about the need to recognise people leaving the countryside to cities. We also discussed how we could support improvements in rural livelihoods in delivery of power which is a big priority for him,” he said.
The Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MDGS) III puts energy sector as one of the priority areas which serves as a crucial input to all economic and social services.
In a panel discussion on trade and investment, President Mutharika emphasised on the need to move development from the city to rural communities through provision of basic amenities such as energy among others.
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Ben Phiri observed that for development to be meaningful, there is need to talk and consider about people on the ground.
He said rural development plays a vital role in economic growth starting from household level through provision of amenities such as energy.
“We need to identify areas where we can bring in investors. For example, local councils have energy projects where they would want to venture into their own electricity generation,” said Phiri.
The day long UK-Africa Investment Summit held on January 20 in London, UK has set the pace to using UK’s expertise and innovation in technology, clean energy, infrastructure and finance which can feed the continent’s demand for sustainable growth.