Opinion By Charles Mponda
Understanding issues needs a lot of patience and some people say some issues need prayers to provide the spirit of discernment. This is the case of Arab-Africa Summit and the Saudi-Africa Summit.
The first one has been cancelled. Simple reason, it involves all Arab countries and African countries. Currently, there is a bloody conflict between Israel and Hamas (read Gaza), this is right at the heart of the Arab world, and it makes sense to cancel the summit; for real a number of Arab countries are directly or indirectly affected by this war.
The second is the Saudi-Africa Summit. This one is a direct engagement between Saudi Arabia and African countries. The arrangement was that the two meetings will be held consecutively in Riyadh, the Capital of Saudi. The host Saudi Arabia, considering all factors including that African Heads of State already prepared for the meeting thought it can still go ahead with the second meeting.
Coincidentally, the Saudi-Africa Summit is the most important part especially for African countries. The second Summit is even more critical for Malawi and is the more reason President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera made a decision to be part of it.
Apart from so many other developmental benefits, the Saudi-Africa Summit is central to the signing of the Mangochi-Makanjira Road construction agreement.
The MK22.45 billon Mangochi-Makanjira Road will be financed by the Saudi Fund for Development. The Saudi Fund for Development is a Saudi Arabian government agency that provides development assistance to developing countries by financing social and infrastructure projects and it is not under the Arab-Africa Summit or Arab League.
From the foregoing, it is clear that the President’s travel is hinged on the Saudi-Malawi relationship and cancellation of the Arab-Africa Summit has no impact on the critical business to be undertaken by the President.
It has to also be noted that the AfrixemBank Intra African Trade Fair is also going ahead and a must attend meeting. We already know the Afrixem story and how it has become the most important piece of the country’s debt restructuring puzzle and our dance with the IMF.