Malawi president Peter Mutharika recently welcomed the Egyptian Eastern Tobacco Company (ETC) for its interest to invest in the country after the firm on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding with Malawi government to venture into cigarette manufacturing in the country.
Mutharika gave the nod to the deal when he met the owners of the company and said tobacco is one of the nation’s largest sources of income as it contributes about 70% of the country’s economy. However, Mutharika said apart from exporting unfinished tobacco, the crop could bring in more foreign exchange if the added value processes were done right in Malawi.
The president said it would be profitable to produce cigarettes in Malawi and it could boost the tobacco industry.
“Malawi is a large producer of tobacco, however for years there have been little improvements in terms of value addition,” said Mutharika. “Today I am pleased to sign the memorandum of understanding between the Malawi government and the Eastern Tobacco Company of Egypt which will be involved in cigarette making. These cigarettes will be sold either within or outside the country and this will make the country gain more foreign currency.”
He then assured the investors of their safety, saying the government would provide the necessary security to their investments.
“The two things that investors get worried about are fiscal and investment security, but as Malawi government we will make sure that we provide maximum security,” the President said.
ETC chairperson, Nabila Mohsen, hailed Mutharika for allowing them to invest in Malawi. He said ETC is primarily engaged in the manufacture and trade of tobacco products and accessories, agricultural marketing, and expert trading as well as real estate services. Malawi is the 12th largest producer of tobacco leaf and the 7th largest global supporter of tobacco. As of 2010, Malawi was the world’s leading producer of burley leaf tobacco.
Today, Malawian tobacco is found in blends of nearly every cigarette smoked in industrialized nations.
ETC is expected to have a groundbreaking ceremony marking the commencement of the company in the country Friday at Kanengo industrial area in Lilongwe.