These are times to showcase the pride of our industry. I have toured around the exhibitions. I am extremely impressed with what we are capable of doing. I have particularly been impressed with the participation of Small and Medium Enterprises. But I am also delighted to see international exhibitors participating in this trade fair.
What I have seen today says one thing. From our small efforts, we can do great things for our countries. We can be ordinary men and women doing extraordinary things. I have seen that in our unity, we can do greater wonders for Africa. A great Africa begins with us. A great Malawi begins with us.
It is inspiring to note that we have chosen to focus on the theme of industrialization this year. This is timely because industrialization must be the next step for Africa. Africa must industrialise! African countries cannot progress and break out of the poverty cycle if we don’t industrialise. Investing in industrialization is one of the best ways of supporting the private sector.
The industry is the heartbeat of the private sector. And the private sector is the nerve centre of the economy. The job of government is to provide an environment that is conducive for private sector growth. But it is the responsibility of the people to take advantage of the environment we create. Now that all of you have showcased your products and services, allow me to showcase as well what Malawi is doing to industrial growth.
Industrial growth can only happen within a growing economy. We can only grow competitive industries when our economies are on the producing end and not on the receiving end. The first step we have taken as a country is to stabilize the economy. We have reduced inflation to the single digit and made prices more stable and predictable. We have kept our local currency stable and business planning more possible.
We have reduced interest rates to make businesses access capital from banks more easily. We have taken our forex reserves to the highest levels to enable business trade internationally with ease. Our vision remains to make Malawi a producing and exporting nation. This vision demands an innovative industry. Our mission is to create a productive economy where citizens participate in growing the economy. This means we are set to nurture the private sector as a productive unit of the economy.
Our goal is to recreate a society with smaller Government and a bigger private sector. We have laid a red carpet for foreign direct investors to come in as one way of expanding the private sector. At the same time, we are creating an economic environment that ensures the growth of our local industries and enterprises.
But we want our investors to find a high skilled labour market. That is why we are opening community technical colleges. That is why we started emphasizing skills education.Our current challenge to the industry is energy. But this is a temporary problem because we have long-lasting solutions.
Malawi neglected expanding power generation for fifty years. Now, we are facing consequences We have lined up various projects in coal power, wind power, solar power, geothermo and hydro power to resolve the energy deficit once and for all. By expanding and diversifying power generation, we are doing what this country could not do in fifty years. I know how painfully you feel power cuts in the industry. I know that your pain is real, and I feel your discomfort.
I can assure that we are resolving the energy deficit once and forever. I believe in you the people of Malawi and I know you can do it, and we will do it! Indeed, let me emphasise that I believe, together, we can industrialise this country. I believe in you Malawians.
Together, we have turned around the economy without donor budget aid. And for the first time, we have achieved the highest import cover in our history.
For the first time, we have delivered the National Identity Card to the citizens. And for the first time, we are constructing a national cancer center.
For the first time, we are going to have a military hospital. And for the first time, we are building roads more than at any point in our history.
For the first time, we are building community technical colleges to empower the Youth. After a long time, we are rebuilding our universities because we are expanding access to university education.
More than ever before, we are connecting electricity to the people in our villages and rural communities. For the first time, we are connecting fibre optic internet to every community.
And for the first time, we can industrialise this country!
With these remarks, I declare the 30th Malawi International Trade Fair officially opened.