Agriculture, including crop alternatives to tobacco, and financial services are among the Malawian businesses to benefit from £2 million investment from the Scottish Government.
Minister for International Development Dr Alasdair Allan today (Tuesday, 11 October) announced £1 million of Scottish Government funding, which will be match funded by private investors, to help Malawian businesses over the next three years,
Allan says the announcement marks an important shift in the country’s journey from being reliant on aid support, which will still play a vital role, to increasing investment in Malawi.
He says the money will help businesses in Malawi become investment ready and will then fund them. A priority sector will be companies replacing tobacco with other less harmful crops.
Investments are being considered with the first expected to be made within 12 months, and will draw on experience from Scotland’s world-renowned finance management sector. Successful investments will be expected to have a social impact by creating jobs and sustainable livelihoods as well as a financial return.
Speaking at the Malawi Investment Forum, Allan said: “This funding marks a new chapter in the Scotland-Malawi relationship and is an opportunity to show how responsible investment can make a fair profit, create jobs, grow the economy and reduce aid dependence.
“Historically, trade and investment has been the central component in Scotland’s relationship with Malawi and as Malawi continues its journey from aid to trade, this £2 million Investment Fund will help develop existing businesses and make a social impact.
“Today, I took part in the Malawi Investment Forum and met with some potential investees, there is a wealth of talent around the table. I am hopeful that this will encourage other investors that Malawi is a good place to do business.”
Group CEO & partner at JB Equity Limited Bor Boer said: “At JB Equity Partners we see huge potential in Malawi’s agricultural sector and as an Edinburgh-based private equity adviser we warmly welcome this initiative to encourage more Scottish investment in Malawi. In the longer term it will be investment in sound businesses in Malawi which delivers the economic growth which will release people from poverty. We are excited by the formation of the African Lakes Company, as are our clients in Malawi, and we look forward to working closely with them and making this project a success.”
Robert S. Anderson, managing director, African Lakes Company Limited, which will manage the investments, said: “The African Lakes Company Ltd was established in Glasgow in 1878 to develop trade as an effective way of displacing slavery in Malawi. More than a century on, we have revived that mission with a contemporary view to investing in Malawi’s future. We aim to prove that with responsible investment we can help Malawi reduce its dependence on aid, support the growth of existing businesses and create sustainable livelihoods.
“Engaging Scotland’s world-class financial sector with Malawian businesses and asset managers brings the prospect of transformative change. We want investors to be themselves, to bring their skill and expertise as active investors to the table. This is not a pitch for donations, it is an invitation to invest.”