The new United State envoy to Malawi, Ambassador David Young, on Thursday presented his letters of credence to His Excellency Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, President of the Republic of Malawi at Kamuzu Palace. The Ambassador reaffirmed his government’s continued cooperation with Malawi in areas of development and governance.
Young becomes the 21st US Ambassador to Malawi and replaces Robert Scott who held the similar post from April 2019 up until October 2021.
Speaking to journalists after presenting the credentials, Young acknowledged that Malawi is currently undergoing a rough and turbulent economic environment which he said is affecting the livelihoods of most Malawians.
But he quickly said: “This tough economic environment is not Malawi’s problem. There has been Covid-19 around, floods and now we are talking about Russia’s invasion on Ukraine.”
He said the recent rising cost of living is mainly a direct function of the war in Ukraine and also Covid-19 pandemic which he said have all disrupted the normal production and global supply chain for most basic goods around the world.
Malawi is a net importer of most consumables as well as other strategic imports such as fertilizer, pharmaceuticals and fuel.
The ambassador also lamented about the current foreign exchange scarcity gripping the domestic economy, stressing that US government is concerned about Malawi’s current foreign exchange situation.
However, the Ambassador proposed that at a time when the country is battling a tough economic atmosphere, it was imperative for government to implement tough or unpopular economic policies now in order to relieve the suffering by Malawians in the near future.
Young, thereafter, reaffirmed to President Chakwera the US government’s commitment to working with Malawi government in order to secure a future that ensures economic prosperity and accountable governance for all Malawians.
He said the recent trip by Chakwera to the US highlighted many of the successes of US partnership with Malawi to date while also generating enthusiasm for the many opportunities for future cooperation.
On her part, Minister of Foreign Affairs echoed Young’s sentiment, reminding Malawians that for the past two years, Malawi’s private sector has shrunk as a result of negative impacts of Covid-19.
Tembo also assured that government expects the impending second Compact program, which is funded by the US government will help connect rural farmers to the markets, thereby incentivizing rural farmers.
The second compact, which is expected to be officially signed in September this year, is targeting three main areas of agriculture, transport and land.
“At the moment, our economy is fragile yes but we are going to do our best in order for us to relieve the pain on Malawians and as you heard from the Ambassador, we all need to swallow a bitter pill in order for us to reverse the current situation,” said Tembo.
Ambassador Young has served in several African posts for the past decade.