Written by Melie Chipula Bayani:
Malawi’s Minister of Information and Digitalization and Government Spokesperson, Moses Kunkuyu has voiced his support for President Dr Lazarus Chakwera’s participation in the 15th BRICS Summit currently taking place at the Sandton Convention Centre in South Africa.
The support comes in the face of criticism from different quarters of society, with concerns that such international and local trips are depleting the country’s foreign exchange reserves.
Kunkuyu believes that this platform provides an opportunity for Malawi to engage in negotiations with other countries to bolster the country’s economy. He emphasized that among the discussions, President Chakwera will hold talks with India to restructure loan agreements, allowing Malawi some breathing space for repaying debts owed to the Indian Government.
“The President’s attendance is aimed at renegotiating with other BRICS countries that have been supportive to our economy by financing some of our projects, and one of those countries is India”, said Kunkuyu.
He further explained that if successful, these negotiations could result in Malawi saving significant amounts of money, which can be reinvested in profitable ventures and used to procure essential commodities such as fuel, fertilizer and pharmaceuticals.
“For example, if we are paying $100 million a month, and they restructure it to allow us to pay $20 million, this means we can instantly save $80 million that we can reinvest in profitable ventures”, Kunkuyu pointed out.
In a separate interview, social commentator Victor Chipofya concurred with Kunkuyu, emphasizing that President Chakwera’s presence at the summit could benefit Malawi.
Chipofya noted that Malawi can learn from the BRICS countries’ economic growth strategies and challenges, considering that these countries have transformed from economic hardships to becoming influential players on the global stage.
He added that, “BRICS countries have developed strategies that have allowed them to challenge institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and established nations like Britain and America, as such, the summit could be of benefit to Malawi”.
The 15th BRICS summit, consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa commenced on Tuesday, August 22nd, 2023, and is scheduled to conclude on Thursday August 24th, 2023.
President Chakwera’s attendance at the summit, along with other economically challenged African countries, follows an invitation by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who also serves as the Chairperson of the BRICS countries.