Department of International Cooperations
The Department is headed by a Director of International Cooperation. It has two divisions, namely, Economic Affairs and Regional Integration. The two divisions are further subdivided into sections as follows:-
- Foreign Aid
- Trade Investment and Tourism
- Joint Permanent Commissions of Cooperation and Spatial Development Initiatives.
- SADC Contact Point
- Secretariat for SADC National Committee for Malawi
- Other Economic Integration Programmes such as COMESA, G77, the African Union and South-South Cooperation.
The Department of International Cooperation is charged with the responsibility of promoting Malawi’s economic interests by encouraging and facilitating economic as well as technical cooperation with other countries and international organizations through development diplomacy. Development Diplomacy seeks to put Malawi on an accelerated growth track through an aggressive investment drive, focused on the promotion of trade, investment and tourism and active mobilization of aid with favorable terms.
The Department also serves as a secretariat for Technical Cooperation Agreements, which the Government of Malawi has entered into with a number of countries. The Technical Cooperation Agreements of Malawi has entered into with a number of countries. The Technical Cooperation Agreements provide for the establishment of Joint Commissions of Cooperation, which guide the operationalistion of the mutually agreed areas of cooperation provide a framework through which Malawi and her bilateral partners strengthen cooperation through regular meetings as well as exchange visits which facilitate the sharing of experiences, ideas and skills. They also provide an opportunity to map out strategies for enhancing mutually beneficial programmes in the economic, political and social-cultural spheres.
In this regard, Malawi has established Joint Commissions of Cooperation with the following countries:- Botswana, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Iran, Kenya, Lesotho, Libya, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
In addition Malawi has established joint Commission of Cooperation in Defence and Security with Mozambique and Zambia while similar arrangements are being negotiated with Kenya and Tanzania. The objectives of these commissions are to identify areas of cooperation in the fields of defence and security, sharing knowledge and experience in various areas such as matters relating to immigration and the movement of goods across borders.
The ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation through the Department of International Cooperation has been charged with the responsibility of operating as Malawi’s National Contact Point (NCP) for Southern African Development Communities (SADC) programmes. The Department, therefore acts as a liaison point for line ministries and the SADC Secretariat on all matters for the regional grouping and where necessary offer guidance.
In order for the Ministry to carry out the NCP MANDATE, THE Department of International Cooperation also facilitates Malawi’s participation in SADC meeting and takes appropriate follow-up action on issue under consideration. This includes initiating reviews and breaking new ground for the country’s effective participation in SADC.
The Department of International Cooperation also serves as a Secretariat for the SADC National Committee (SNC) for Malawi. Following SADC’s restructuring SNC’, have been established in SADC member states to replace the sector Coordinating Units (SCUs) through which member states are expected to participate effectively in SADC affairs. The Malawi SNC is chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and has a cross section of membership which includes Cabinet Ministers, representatives of the business community, traditional leaders and civil society representatives.
Apart from serving as SAADC NCP and SNC Secretariat, the Department also deals with issues relating to other regional organizations such as COMESA and NEPD. The Department also handles issues relating to the country’s working relations with other economic regional communities such as the East African Community, ECOWAS, the EU and others.
Objectives and Strategies
The objectives of the Department of International Cooperation are:
- To facilitate the promotion of sustainable economic and development Cooperation with other countries and international organizations through development diplomacy as the new thrust of Malawi’s Foreign Affairs Policy.
- Act both as a focal point for regional integration programmes as well as a clearinghouse
- for development initiatives and issues in conjunction with line ministries and agencies and the business sector.
In order to achieve the above-mentioned objectives, the department has the following strategies:
- Facilitating the promotion of economic activities relating to trade, tourism and investment in coordination with line ministries, the private sector, parastatal instructions and the civil society.
- Coordinating activities relating to Malawi’s enhanced participation in regional and international organizations.
- Playing an active role in facilitating the mobilization of aid and technical assistance from bilateral and multilateral donors; and
- Contributing to the formulation and review of Malawi’s Foreign Policy visa-avis bilateral and multilateral economic cooperation.
The Department of International Cooperation undertakes the following functions:-
- Participate in the formulation and review of Malawi’s Policy on economic and technical cooperation;
- Draft texts of general economic and bilateral cooperation agreements, and other legal instruments;
- Monitor, analyze and report on economic developments in Malawi s well as developments in other countries and international organizations that are of interest to Malawi;
- Facilitate matters relating to aid, trade, investment and tourism with relevant authorities in Malawi and other countries as well as international organizations;
- Facilitate meetings and follow up on joint commissions of cooperation between Malawi and other countries as well as meetings relating to economic and regional integration.
- Facilitate the preparation of briefs and materials in liaison with line institutions for international economic meetings and conferences.
- Facilitate and participate in negotiations between Malawi and her bilateral and multilateral cooperating partners.
- Take a leading role in soliciting foreign aid and promoting trade, foreign investment, tourism and other forms of economic cooperation, with other countries.
- Act as a National Contact Point for SADC and as a liaison point for regional integration programmes;
- Act as a Secretariat for the SADC National Committee for Malawi; and
- Act as a contact and liaison office in dealing with line processing agreements on economic cooperation, trade and investment.