President Peter Mutharika says African Governments should negotiate terms and conditions that will benefit their countries and not leave them exploited as it has been the case in the past.
Mutharika: we need to negotiate terms and conditions that work for the people at Mutharika delivers public lecture at SOAS Part of the audience listens to Malawi leader Mutharika
Mutharika was speaking at the University of London's School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS) during the discussion that followed the public lecture, the academic community sought to understand why investment summits between Africa and major counties have suddenly soared.
In his explanation, President Mutharika said "what we are seeing is, in a positive sense, a new scramble for Africa. People now realize that Africa is no longer a burden but the continent can be engaged for mutual benefit."
'We have seen a new scramble of Africa, China, Russia, Japan, India and now the UK all hosting investment summits. What are the positives and negatives, since the last scramble for Africa left the continent exploited,' asked one of the members of the audience.
Mutharika whose speech acknowledged that the continent has been exploited both in terms of trade and mineral resources, said the new rush for Africa should be welcomed with caution and Governments had responsibility of protecting their countries.
'It is an exciting opportunity that all are coming to Africa. It shows Africa has huge potential. But we need to negotiate terms and conditions that work for the people at the same time realising that investors are not charities they need to make profit,' said Mutharika.
The President said one condition each should seek is to include skills transfer for long term purposes that would empower African people to be competitive across the world.
'These countries have skills and technology. It is exciting to see them come to Africa, but we should ask them to leave skills behind. Some want to bring own people, we need to negotiate that. Africa need to tap into India, China, Russia, UK and Japanese technology,' he said.
The President said the aid and loans that Africa receives from the outside world amount to $162 billion while about $203 billion leaves the continent which indicates that the continent could independently finance its own development.
'No country has ever developed because of aid. At best, aid can only be a stop-gap measure in the transition to economic autonomy if that aid is invested in production sectors of the economy such as agriculture and energy,' said Mutharika.
Mutharika said his administration believes in rural of law and strengthening openness in business transactions that would translate to more Malawians in rural areas benefiting for government and foreign investments.
Baroness Valerie Amos who chaired the address said the new rush for Africa was an interesting development that could help spur or impinge Africa's growth.
Mutharika is in London for the UK Africa investment summit and a series of meetings including a Malawi Investment Forum slated for Wednesday where over 50 companies will interact with the head of state.