£68,000 Scots boost for Malawi business

THE Scottish Government yesterday announced a major funding boost to help business grow in Malawi.

In time for the two-year anniversary of the co-operation agreement between the two countries, Linda Fabiani, the international development minister, pledged 68,000 to the Scotland-Malawi Business Group for its Malawi Enterprise Programme.

The announcement reflects a move towards promoting economic development in the southern African country as well as immediate poverty relief.

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Ms Fabiani said: "In the July Joint Commission meeting, the government of Malawi urged us to prioritise economic development.

"We must create real opportunities that will enable Malawi to develop its economy and give Malawians the chance to create a sustainable livelihood.

"This funding of 68,000 will support micro-finance and a scheme to help young Malawians to set up their own businesses."

Ms Fabiani made her announcement at the first trade fair promoting Malawian goods in Scotland.

Trade Connections, held at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre in Glasgow yesterday, was set up to stimulate 1 million of investment between the two countries.

But Eoghan Mackie, the chief executive of volunteer agency Challenges Worldwide, said Scotland could not hope to solve the massive problems in health and education with such small funds.

He said Scots could help Malawi by promoting skills and innovation in key areas.

"I do not think that the Scottish Government's role should be to give away money. The amount of money involved is small, so I think that it can be put to far better use."