The just ended Malawi Investment Forum (MIF) has been touted as very successful after deals worth a staggering US$3 billion were signed. This will surely spur significant economic growth in the country.
All this money will have to go through the country’s banking system, and the investors will therefore need reliable banking partners to handle this kind of investment.
That is why National Bank of Malawi (NBM) plc was in attendance at this year’s MIF which was held in Lilongwe from June 11 and 12, 2018.
“National Bank of Malawi plc has the resources, expertise and operating capacity to provide truly effective banking partnerships to both its existing customers and the potential new customers that will be setting up shop in Malawi in due course,” declared William Chatsala, the Bank’s Regional Manager for the Centre and North.
“Just like the country is ready for business for all, we say National Bank of Malawi plc, the Bank of the Nation, is ready to play its rightful role in the provision of appropriate banking solutions to its customers, and therefore significantly contribute to the growth of the country’s economy,” added Chatsala.
The Malawi Investment Forum presented an opportune platform for global investors and business support institutions to meet. You cannot talk about investment without talking about the intermediary role that banks play in commerce - every commercial transaction will require the services that banks offer; and NBM plc had to stand and be counted as a serious banking partner in the country.
Government made presentations on what it is doing to create an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive. Such information is not only useful to potential new investors – existing businesses as well want assurances from Government on such important issues as critical factors of production, strengthening of the rule of law, and safeguarding the interests of businesses and citizens.
This was useful information not only to the potential new customers, but to existing businesses as well, of which the Bank is one.
Besides the many foreign institutions that participated at the Forum, there were many more local participants - both existing NBM plc customers, and those that do not currently bank with NBM plc.
“We were therefore able to interact with our existing customers, and those that will soon be our customers!,” stressed Chatsala.
“The Forum was important to NBM from two angles. Firstly, NBM enjoys a mutually beneficial banking relationship with the Malawi Investment & Trade Centre (MITC). It was therefore important for NBM to not only participate at the Forum, but also provide our modest sponsorship of K4 million and support towards the costs of hosting such an important Forum in the Country.”
“Secondly, the Forum presented a very good platform for the Bank to get new information on projects that the MIF had carefully selected to meet the diverse interests of investors, in a manner that responds to the development priorities of the country,” explained Chatsala.
Foreign investors want to know how they can bring capital into the country, the ease with which capital and profits can be repatriated, and how exchange controls work in Malawi.
Both local and international investors want to know how they can raise working capital, and finance their capital expenditure requirements. They want to know how their businesses’ general banking requirements and those of their employees can be met.
“NBM has a wide range of products and services that meet our customers’ banking needs. We are also able to tailor-make products and services to meet specific needs of our customers, both institutional and personal. We offer access to our services through our many service centres across the country; but also electronically through the Bank’s cutting edge electronic platforms,” said Chatsala.
Through the contacts that were established at similar earlier Fora, NBM has been able to open several banking accounts for its new customers and continued to engage with potential new customers through referrals that were made by businesses that the bank met at the earlier Fora. In some cases, the Bank has been able to link its existing customers with potential partners that were identified at such Fora.
“In our assessment, opportunities that the Malawi Investment Forum presented are immense. We hear that projects worth over USD3 billion were presented at the Forum. All that money must in due course find its way through the commercial banks in this country. Through the multiplier effect, those new investments will spur significant economic growth that will positively change the economic trajectory of the country,” summed up Chatsala.