WELCOMING STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY PROFESSOR ARTHUR PETER MUTHARIKA.
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF MALAWI DURING A COURTESY CALL BY RT. HON. PATRICIA SCOTLAND, QC-SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE COMMONWEALTH
ON 27TH APRIL 2017, KAMUZU PALACE
• Right Honourable Madam Patricia Scotland, QC, Secretary General of the Commonwealth;
• Hon. Francis Kasaila, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation;
• Your Excellency, Holly Tett, High Commissioner of the United Kingdom to Malawi;
• Members of the Delegation of the Commonwealth Secretary General;
• Mr. Lloyd Muhara, Chief Secretary to the Government and all Government officials;
• Senior Government Officials;
• Ladies and Gentlemen.
I am pleased to welcome you, Right Hon. Secretary General of the Commonwealth. Thank you for choosing Malawi to be among the first countries to visit on the African continent. We are honoured by your visit.
It is my hope that you are enjoying your visit. Despite your busy schedule, let me also invite you to visit the beautiful Lake Malawi, which is an hour’s drive from here, and sample our delicious Chambo fish.
At the outset, I would like to express our profound congratulatory wishes for being the first female Secretary-General of the Commonwealth and for your first anniversary of your tenure in office.
The Commonwealth has been an integral part of Malawi since our independence in 1964. The Commonwealth has contributed to Malawi’s human and economic development, through the promotion of democracy, rule of law, human rights, good governance and has been a voice for our development issues.
We are also proud that the Commonwealth Secretariat has employed a number of Malawians in various capacities and I trust that under your leadership, Madam Secretary General, there will be more Malawian representation at the Secretariat.
My Government is a committed and an active member of the Commonwealth of Nations. And to demonstrate this, we have honoured all the arrears that we had with the Commonwealth.
Madam Secretary General,
Malawi shares the Commonwealth Development Agenda as one way of moving away from Aid to Trade and Investment. I therefore wish to thank the Secretariat’s support together with the European Union for championing Malawi’s voice in trade negotiations under the Hub and Spokes II Programme which will help in achieving Malawi’s trade development.
I have been informed of various reforms being undertaken in the Commonwealth, and the challenges you are facing in the process. I wish to assure you of Malawi’s support as you seek to create an equal Commonwealth for all its members.
Furthermore, as the Global and Africa’s Youth Champion, and noting that 60 percent of the Commonwealth population is under the age of 30, I would like to commend your efforts, Madam Secretary-General, in recognising and empowering young people across the Commonwealth, including Malawians who benefit from the Secretariat’s programmes.
Let me also commend your efforts in championing the Climate Change Agenda and for being the first organisation to endorse the COP21 Paris Agreement 2015. Climate Change has had a devastating impact on Malawi as the country has recently experienced a double burden of floods in some parts of the country and dry spells and drought conditions in others. This led to food insecurity and depressed exports in the country recent years.
For the first time in the country’s history, more than 6.7 million people required humanitarian assistance due to climate change variability. I am, therefore, looking forward to working with the Commonwealth Secretariat under the Climate Finance Access Hub to get technical assistance in developing resilience mechanisms against Climate Change and mitigation of future natural disasters.
As I have pointed out earlier, Madam Secretary General, your being the first woman Secretary General of the Commonwealth is not only inspirational to us as Government, but also to our people, as well as the youth of Malawi. We look at you as a role model that can inspire our ladies to take national and international roles in various fields.
My Government has championed legal changes to outlaw child marriage and protect women through the Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Law 2015. We hope under your leadership, there will be a specific economic empowerment programme for women in rural areas that can create wealth and lift them out of poverty.
We also welcome the recent Commonwealth Women’s Mentorship Scheme which will help enhance young women’s career prospects. Malawi values and incorporates the Commonwealth Charter and the Sustainable Development Goals by investing in our people. I trust that, under your leadership, Madam Secretary-General, investment will focus on poverty alleviation, access to finance and capacity building.
As the UK is leaving the European Union, we also hope that the Commonwealth Secretariat will take a lead in making Africa as a priority destination for British investment and partnerships that will build upon our historical, trade and political ties.
Let me conclude by once again welcoming you to Malawi. Enjoy the time that you will have with our friendly people, and I trust your visit will be memorable and fruitful. I wish you safe trip as you proceed to other countries in the continent.
Thank you for your attention.