July 1, 2015 / 4:28 PM / 5 years ago

Malawi nets $1 bln in prospective investments at trade forum

LILONGWE, July 1 (Reuters) - Malawi’s first ever investment forum netted more than $1 billion in prospective investments, the trade minister said on Wednesday, as officials hoped the amount would rise to $10 billion once all proposed deals were concluded.

Malawi, which is trying to move away from dependence on Western donors who are withholding budget support, following revelations of corruption in 2012 demanding that the government investigate and prosecute those involved in stealing state funds. Over $20 million is believed to have been plundered.

The forum, which attracted 150 international investors from the United States, Asia and Europe.

“By close of business yesterday (Tuesday) we had closed in on three deals worth $1.1 billion in prospective investments but we are confident that the we will reach the $10 billion mark ... with a lot of interest in energy, mining and the agriculture sector,” Minister of Trade Joseph Mwanavekha told Reuters.

He said all pending deals would be sealed within two weeks.

The southern African nation is dependent on tobacco as its main foreign exchange earner but the global anti-smoking lobby is hurting its earnings and crippling the fragile economy. (Reporting by Mabvuto Banda; Editing by James Macharia)

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