Sunday, 17 January 2010

Friends of Malawi

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Within a few days of launch the LinkedIn, 'Friends of Malawi Group' has become the largest country group for this small African Nation. Yes, it is still very modest with 38 business people joining but with 17 groups listed for this country, we have still gone to number one within three days. It just shows how the profile and business opportunities in Malawi needs to be better publicised.

I am very grateful for LinkedIn business colleagues speedy support to make it the largest group. We hope to build up continuing support and interest amongst a wide range of business people. In the past week I have been surprised and pleased that there have been genuine inquiries about real estate investment, carbon trading and employment opportunities.

Clearly many people have a strong affection for this country of around 13million whose average age is a mere 44 years and the average income per year is $240. It is tiny and is slightly smaller than the size of the State of Pennsylvania in the USA. One third of the GDP is derived from agriculture and Malawi ranks number ten in the world for HIV/AIDS deaths. As such, it is rarely mentioned in the media in truly positive terms. If people in Europe and North America have heard about Malawi it is usually in connection with Madonna adopting children and building a school.

However, as someone who visited Malawi in 2002 during the height of the southern African famine, I have fond memories of the warm welcome I received from the people and the long term commitment I have given to assist the people.

It is a genuine democracy with a healthy interest in daily politics. There is real progress with new investment from countries such as China helping to build a new national stadium with a $65million loan and a new parliament building.

There is a proposition to use the extensive natural resources of the Lake Malawi and its rivers to radically improve the crop yields so Malawi could become self sufficient in basic foodstuffs.

Technology is starting to grow in usage helping th devleopment of the country. For instance, rapid SMS is assisting with data collection for health services.

Now with Zain rolling out its Zap services, financial transactions can be carried out on mobile phone anytime and anywhere. This sort of mobile micro-financial accessing system will help with wealth and job creation.

A special thank you needs to go to the Scotland-Malawi Partnership scheme. The SMP has been around for four years and has been a fantastic coming together of two countries for mutal benefit. The latest newsletter can be found here:-

Please join the Friends of Malawi group on LinkedIn and help the people of Malawi to build a sustainable future.


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