President Lazarus Chakwera is expected to travel to South Sudan this month to witness arrival of goods being exported from Malawi under a trade deal between Malawi and South Sudan.
Chakwera’s executive assistant Sean Kampondeni announced the upcoming presidential trip during a press briefing this morning.
Kampondeni noted that on 1 January this year, countries of the African Union ratified the African Free Trade Area (AFTA) but no trade deal has been undertaken under the AFTA.
The first deal will be between Malawi and South Sudan where Malawi will export goods such as maize flour to South Sudan.
“Because this is the first of its kind on the African continent, and Malawi is spearheading this movement, the president has been invited by the secretariat of the Africa Free Trade Area to be present when the goods that have been dispatched from Malawi are to be exported.
“Ever since he was leader of opposition, the president has always championed increasing Malawi’s exports in order to correct the imbalance between imports and exports. So, the present is gong to be present for that particular launch,” said Kampondeni.
He added that the dates for the trip will be provided once the logistics have been finalized.
Next month, President Lazarus will attend the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in the United States. According to Kampondeni, there are indications that President Chakwera, who will become SADC chairperson this month, will be requested to attend in person, not virtually as e did last year.
In November, Chakwera will travel to Glasgow, Scotland for the Climate Summit where he is expected to meet UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
In January next year, Chakwera will attend the Least Developed Countries (LDC) conference in Doha which will be hosted by the Government of Qatar.
“The president will be presiding over the event as chairperson of LDC,” said Kampondeni.
Chakwera yesterday arrived from the UK where he spent a week and attended the two-day Global Education Summit.
Malawians on social media have been saying that President Chakwera undertakes unnecessary local and foreign trips. There are concerns that the president is wasting public funds through the trips.
Some Malawians have nicknamed the president ‘Vilemi Dazi’ and Siku Transport, saying he is usually here today and there tomorrow .