President Peter Mutharika has today launched the $80 million worth China – Africa Textile Project in Salima District which is expected to help Malawi create jobs, boost both cotton production and textile industries.
The multi-million dollar project funded by Industrial and Commercial Bank of China— which has 20% shareholding in Standard Bank Africa—is expected to be implemented in two phases and employ at least 1 500 people.
The factory—once in full operation—will require 100 metric tonnes of cotton annually to maximize its production for local and export markets.
The project will be implemented in two phases with the first phase costing $44.2 million and will see implementation of the necessary factory structures, including a ginning mill scheduled to be ready by June 2019. The mill will be adding value to raw cotton before processing it into fabric.
Second phase will cost $36 million for construction of a weaving, printing, dying and towel-making plant and the factory extensions in order to enhance industrial chains.
Speaking when he officially launched the project, President Mutharika said his government is excited to implement the project under China Africa Project that started in Balaka some few years ago and the Salima project is part of the wide range of the investments under the company.
“We have been waiting for a time that Malawi will be exporting high quality textile manufactured products outside the country and this is the right time. Malawi has a lot of raw materials for production, but what we need is value addition.
“When we are exporting raw materials we should know that we are exporting jobs, so we must stop exporting jobs and start creating jobs here at home through manufacturing”, said the President.
He went on to explain that his government’s vision remains to make Malawi a predominantly exporting country and stop being a predominantly importing and consuming country and that government is ready to work with investors to help Malawi realise such a dream.
The President said he sees the vision becoming a reality through the launched project and that there are several investors that are coming and are creating jobs for the youth, for women and jobs for everyone.
“I am aware that foreign direct investment brings money into the country, it creates new wealth and we are creating new wealth in Malawi. This project will bring into Malawi $80 million, the first phase will bring $40 million and similarly the last phase and this is real value addition to our economy.
“The textile factory will also bring happiness to our farmers in the country because this provides ready market and reduce exploitation of our farmers. This factory will change lives in Salima and change the economy of this country and once in operational will be a pride of Malawi”, said President Mutharika.
He then hailed the government of China for continued ties and the China Textile Company limited in particular for considering investing in Malawi.
Chinese Ambassador to Malawi Shiting Wang speaking during the function said the project signifies strong ties that China and Malawi have.
“This project will significantly contribute to the economic growth of Malawi and most importantly will improve economic wellbeing of local people around this area and nationally, able people to have wider choices of textile products.
The Chinese are also upbeat about the project.
“We hope that all stakeholders will support the construction, operation and maintenance of the project. This project will enhance cooperation on China and Malawian textile industries and help to upgrade Malawi’s industry”, said ambassador Wang.
Mr. Wang said once in operation, Malawi will be earning between USD35 and USD50 million annually in forex from the export business created by the factory.