Malawi, a small landlocked country in southeast Africa, awaits greater exchanges with Korea following the establishment of the Korea-Malawi Friendship Society last week, a leading Malawian civil activist said.
George Chaima, the country director of New Restoration Plan Malawi, visited Korea to participate in the organization’s opening ceremony at the National Assembly on Tuesday.
He met officials from the Korea International Cooperation Agency, various government agencies, universities, hospitals, shipyards and mining facilities.
George Chaima, the country director of New Restoration Plan Malawi. (Joel Lee/The Korea Herald)
In an interview with The Korea Herald on Thursday, Chaima said that his country hoped Korea could contribute in education and health, while pointing to unexplored trade and investment opportunities.
“Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world, despite having gained independence more than five decades ago. I came to Korea on behalf of our country and people, as we could not leave the task to the government,” Chaima said.
Chaima is a board member of Sanitation and Water for All, a global organization dedicated to providing water, sanitation and hygiene services to places in need.
Members of the Korea-Malawi Friendship Society pose at the inaugural ceremony at the National Assembly on Tuesday. (International Development Consulting Group)
The director pointed out to his country’s stable political and social environment as strong incentives for Korean investment. The country’s multiparty electoral democracy was established in 1993 and, unlike many other conflict-ridden regions in Africa, Malawians resolve differences through dialogue, he said.
English is an official language in Malawi, a former British colony, and the country has friendly relations with most Western countries. The Malawian government has started an anticorruption drive to improve the transparency of governance and rule of law.
Chaima expressed his desire to provide quality education for Malawi’s young students, improve the public health system plagued by HIV, establish Africa’s development, finance, science and technology institutes in Malawi and lure Korean investment.
Malawi has abundant water from Lake Malawi and the Shire River, ideal for shipbuilding, tourism and fishing.
Lee Kyung-soo, the chairman of the International Development Consulting Group, said Malawi had cheap labor, agricultural produce and a safe society, ideal for foreign investment. China and Japan have built factories, schools and infrastructure in Malawi, Lee added.
Health care, education, agriculture, science, technology, energy and mining are priority areas for investment, Chaima pointed out. He secured an agreement with the Seoul National University of Science and Technology for scholarship and student exchange programs, which will start next year.
By Joel Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org