20 November 2015

Malawi: Chilima Says Malawi Committed to Fighting Hunger, Malnutrition - VP Rejects K5.7m Meeting Room in U.S

Vice President Saulos Chilima says there is strong political will from the presidency in Malawi for the southern African country to fight hunger and malnutrition by the year 2025 through Compact 2025, an initiative for the cause by the International Food Production Research Institute (IFPR).

Chilima speaking in US

Chiyembekeza speaking at the launch

Chilima speaking at the launch

Chilima was speaking at a news conference in Washington DC in the US where Compact 2025 Leadership Council members briefed the media on their roles as Ambassadors to fight the hunger and malnutrition.

Through Compact2025, countries like Malawi will work with IFPRI to end hunger and under-nutrition by the year 2015 as a first step toward eradicating extreme poverty.

"It is the responsibility of every government to end hunger and make its citizens happy. As council members and as focal countries we will ensure that we successfully fight issues of food insecurity and malnutrition by the year 2025,"said Chilima.

IFPRI Executive Durector Shenggen Fan said he was excited that there seemed maximum political will from the countries championing as Ambassadors for Compact 2025.

"We know what has worked to reduce hunger and under nutrition in many countries around the world. With Compact2025, we can share this knowledge and ensure that every country has the knowledge and tolls it needs to end hunger and under nutrition," said Chilima.

He was accompanied by Agriculture Minister Allan Chiyembekeza who stressed in interview that his ministry will work with the Vice President to offer technical support to ensure that Malawi becomes hunger and malnutrition free by the year 2025.

However, apart from attending the IFPRI function, it has been a busy trip for the Vice President in the US who on day one was congratulated by President Mutharika for taking time to carry a number of official assignments ahead of the main function.

"Two hours after his arrival on Monday, the Vice President held a number of meetings with prospective investors especially now that the reforms have eased the way of doing business for Malawi. Previously, before the reforms which my government is embarking on, the country could take 90 days to issue business permits to investors which was frustrating but currently, thanks to the One Stop Service Centre under the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre where all stakeholders are housed under one roof, it only takes five days to issue a permit," wrote President Mutharika on his Facebook page.

The Vice President also took time to meet with Malawians based in Washington DC at the embassy of Malawi where he outlined a number of reforms that the Mutharika administration is embarking on.

He stunned Malawians living in the United States of America (USA) when he refused to meet them at Marriot Wardman Hotel whose conference room was pegged at $10 000 (about K5.7 million).

Office of the Vice-President ordered a cancellation of the conference room booking upon learning that government through the Malawi Embassy in Washington DC was going to foot the bill.

Instead, the Vice-President offered that they use a free albeit small room at the Malawi Embassy

Pilirani Phiri, press officer in the Office of the Vice-President, confirmed the development .

Speaking during the meeting, Malawi's Ambassador to the USA Necton Mhura told the people at the meeting that the venue was changed because Chilima refused to have the interface at a hotel where resources would have been spent.

"I am impressed and encouraged that back home there is a leadership that is doing things from a business-unusual perspective," he said, attracting applause from the 30-plus Malawians at the event.

Chilima commended Malawians in the US for investing in Malawi and that they should also actively participate in national development back home.

"It is not necessarily the size of the investment, but the impact it makes in improving the quality of life of ordinary people that matters and I want you to know that the Malawi Government appreciates your efforts," he said.

Chilima also gave a progress report on reforms whose commission he chairs, stressing that unless Malawians reform as a people and as a country, they should forget about development.

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