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24/04/2012: MINISTERIAL DELEGATION WARMLY RECEIVED IN U.S. AMID HIGH HOPES AND SUPPORT FOR MALAWI

Honorable Minister Ken Lipenga greeting officials from the Whitaker GroupOn the eve of participation in the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Spring Meetings, the ministerial delegation from Malawi was honored during a reception hosted by Rosa Whitaker, President and CEO of The Whitaker Group and former Assistant US Trade Representative for Africa, and the Honorable Toby Moffett, Chairman of The Moffett Group and former US Congressman from Connecticut. The reception was held at the historic Arts Club of Washington in the former home of James Monroe, the fifth President of the United States.

The delegation led by the Minister of Finance and Development Planning Dr. Ken Lipenga was in Washington  to strengthen relationships with the World Bank, IMF, and US government agencies on the heels of the Malawi’s recent democratic transition. Malawi’s new president, Her Excellency Mrs. Joyce Banda, was sworn in April 7, two days after sudden death of President Bingu wa Mutharika, becoming southern Africa’s first female Head of State. Minister Lipenga was optimistic in his remarks to the audience: “we are now in a very positive environment and we are working now with the IMF and the World Bank because we have a history of successful engagement with them, and we can benefit from their experience.”

The reception was attended by a cross-section of leaders from the private sector, civil society, US government and multilateral institutions, and was representative of the strong show of support that Malawi has received from the international community in recent weeks. According to the reception’s co-host Rosa Whitaker, “Malawi has stood at a crossroads and it has chosen the right path… from my conversations with policymakers here in Washington, I know there is a tremendous amount of goodwill toward Malawi.” IThe delegation  used the Spring Meetings of the World Bank and IMF, as well as other bilateral meetings with the MCC and other development partners, as platforms for renewed dialogue with the public and private sector investment community here in the US.

On the recent political transition in Malawi, the Minister was equally buoyant: “The future looks good. It looks good because we have a new president who is very determined to do the right things, and all of us Malawians are united in our support for her. We believe that there is now a lot of enthusiasm from of our partners in the US and in Europe. Malawi is focused on the future and the government is determined, under President Banda’s leadership, to create jobs through inclusive economic growth.”

The Honorable Toby Moffett also noted the link between President Barack Obama’s election as the first African American President of the United States, and Her Excellency Mrs. Banda becoming the first female head of state in Southern Africa, in his remarks. He said that the two Presidents have offered inspiration to millions and will forever change the political landscapes of their nations. He closed noting that the reception demonstrated “the palpable interest here in Washington surrounding Malawi and Joyce Banda. One thing is clear: we look forward to the limitless possibilities of a new Malawi.”