Governance and human rights advocate Undule Mwakasungula has spoken in support of President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera's physical attendance at the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Summit in New York, US, next week.
Mwakasungula argues in a press statement shared with us on Wednesday night that UNGA could be a gateway to economic opportunities and unlock economic prospects for Malawi; hence, the need for Chakwera not to miss the summit.
"The assembly's sidelines are rife with meetings, discussions, and negotiations. Leaders have the chance to meet with business magnates, investors, and heads of international organizations. For Malawi, this can mean attracting foreign direct investment, securing grants or loans, or initiating trade partnerships," he wrote.
Mwakasungula further argued that while the immediate costs of attending the UNGA might raise eyebrows, especially amidst economic trials Malawians are facing, the long-term prospects for Malawi are undeniably significant.
He said it was therefore a strategic investment in diplomacy and international relations, which, if leveraged correctly, could yield significant returns for the nation's development and economic recovery.
He said for Malawi, a country grappling with economic hurdles yet eager for growth and development, UNGA is not merely a ceremonial event, but symbolizes a distinctive opportunity, a strategic platform to articulate concerns, establish alliances, and court potential investments.
"As debates intensify over the financial implications of the President's UNGA trip, it is imperative to understand the broader ramifications and the prospective benefits Malawi stands to gain.
"UNGA is a significant global platform where leaders from all member states come together to discuss pressing global issues, forge partnerships, and share their national perspectives.
"For Malawi, attending the UNGA provides an opportunity to voice its challenges, and aspirations on a global stage. It will allow the country to engage in diplomacy, build relationships, and potentially attract international support and partnerships," said the renowned activist.
"While the UNGA's primary focus is not much on economic development, the sidelines of the assembly offer numerous opportunities for bilateral and multilateral discussions. These discussions lead to potential investments, trade partnerships, and aid commitments.
"For a country like Malawi, which faces economic challenges, these engagements can be instrumental in seeking financial assistance, technical support, or forging trade and investment partnerships."
On national development, Mwakasungula said UNGA could contribute to national development in various ways as it is a platform to learn from global best practices, gain insights into sustainable development goals, and understand global trends.
He said the knowledge and partnerships derived from the UNGA could help influence national policies, strategies, and initiatives, driving holistic national development.