Inclusion of youth and women in development space could be best to influence national investment rules—Chakwera

* Trading amongst ourselves, which needs to be encouraged, is usually done by young people and women

* As such, those of us in authority need to give them the latitude to be able to do that freely

By Mercy Makuwira, MANA

When answering a question on how and where innovation could be used to influence national investment rules at AfreximBank’s 30th annual meeting in Accra, Ghana, President Lazarus Chakwera stressed that African leaders need to make a deliberate move to include youths and women in the developmental space.


He said this during a panel discussion titled ‘Delivering the Vision: The benefits of strong continental financial institutions’, saying as a start to the development of the region, there is need for governments to encourage inter trading — especially amongst youths and women who are usually on the forefront.

“Trading amongst ourselves, which needs to be encouraged, is usually done by young people and women,” he said. “As such, those of us in authority need to give them the latitude to be able to do that freely.”

He emphasised on the need for governments to invest a lot in development of skills for women and youths and promote brain swaps between countries where youths with skills that are not available or are in short supply in one country should freely exchange to work in countries without those skills.

Chakwera on his departure from Accra on Tuesday

“We have seen young people that are so innovative in our universities and have patented their innovations and creations. You will see these young people idle at home yet governments are complaining that their countries are not developing.

“These are the things we need to invest on in order to create more wealth. The more prosperity we create, the more liberty we will have for ourselves.

The President thus called for countries that have capacity on the continent not to leave the least developed countries behind but deliberately bring them closer in order to ensure that the continent is developing at the same pace.

With Presidents of Ghana and Zimbabwe

On his part, Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo called on African governments and the African Union (AU) to support African institutions, saying developing such institutions will see the continent developing at a fast rate.

“Unless we have strong financial institutions we are not going to develop,” he said. “Relying on foreign capital placed Africa at the bottom of the ladder.”

He, therefore, called for countries who were yet to become members or participate in African institutions like AfreximBank to do so.


AfreximBank is a Pan African multilateral financial institution created in 1993 with blessings from the African Development Bank and its has been instrumental in supporting Malawi’s economic development.

One of the highlights of the President’s trip was the signing of multi-billion-dollar trade and investment deals with AfreximBank for construction of two mega farms and with ARISE Integrated Industrial Platforms that will see construction of two industrial parks.

The President had a successful indoor meeting with AfreximBank’s president & chairman of Board of Directors, Benedict Oramah and his team where the bank opened up discussion talks on restructuring of the country’s debt to the bank.

“We have been assured that the talks will continue,” Chakwera said on his departure from Accra. “This is important as, through it, Malawi will have an Extended Credit Facility with the International Monetary Fund.”

Meanwhile, Minister of Finance, Sosten Gwengwe has commended AfreximBank for the long term good working relationship the bank has had with the country.

He described the bank and the country’s relation as good both in good and bad times, saying: “Our history with the bank goes quite a long way — in Malawi there are so many initiatives that the country benefits from AfreximBank, one of which being trade financing.

“We need confirmation of our LS for our fuel and other critical imports and Afrexim has always been helping us  in that space. In addition, in Africa we have African Continental Free Trade Zone and Afrexim has funded quite a lot of initiatives under this.”