Put national interest first, says France
BY MARCUS MUHARIWA, The Daily Times
10:53:23 - 17 July 2007
French Embassy Charge d’Affaires Daniel Zeldine says political forces in Malawi should place public interests above everything else to maintain stability in the country.
Speaking Saturday in Lilongwe during the Bastille Day, which is commemoration of the French Independence, Zeldine observed that stability was Malawi’s greatest achievement since independence.
“The stability in this country is its greatest achievement since independence in a continent which has known so many tragedies, a stability that the international community in general and France in particular commend as Malawi’s most valuable treasure,” Zeldine said.
He commended government for putting in place effective policies in agriculture and economics that have helped Malawi to achieve food security and restore its economic situation for the past two years.
“At the same time Malawi has reached a high rate of growth, which allows its government to produce for the coming financial year, a sound expansionist budget which gives hope to its population, particularly the most deprived members,” Zeldine observed.
He expressed hope that government would continue to put in place good measures that would attract foreign investment including more French companies besides the ones that are already in the country like Lafarge Portland Cement, Total, CFAO, AGS and SDV.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joyce Banda asked for continued assistance from the French government through training of Malawi Defence Forces (MDF) pilots and other soldiers in peacekeeping operations.
“The initiative being undertaken by the French government in promotion of culture is also commendable. The French Cultural Centre in Blantyre continues to be the country’s venue for arts and cultural events.
“We also welcome the plan by the French government to construct a multi-purpose Franco-Malawi Cultural Centre in Lilongwe,” Banda said.
She thanked the French government for writing off 9.5 million euros Malawi owed it in bilateral debt, saying funds from the cancelled debt would be used for pro-poor programmes.