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Mining in Malawi is not a poisoned chalice Minister Chang’anamuno tells WhyAfrica

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Malawi’s Minister of Mining Hon. Minister Monica Chang'anamuno is an avid reader of the WhyAfrica magazine. On her desk is a copy of the July issue of WhyAfrica’s Pre-Road Trip issue. Image credit: Leon Louw for WhyAfrica

Mining in Malawi is not a poisoned chalice Minister Chang’anamuno tells WhyAfrica

Although Malawi’s Minister of Mining Hon. Minister Monica Chang’anamuno is still new in her position, she is facing all the challenges head on. Minister Chang’anamuno assured me during our interview recently there is no need to be concerned about changes to Malawi’s mining regulations.

By Leon Louw owner of WhyAfrica and editor of the WhyAfrica magazine

It was a humid morning when I met Minister Chang’anamuno in her office on the third floor of Government Building in Lilongwe last month. Outside, the snaking queue of vehicles eagerly awaiting the arrival of fuel at the pump station on the corner, grew longer by the minute. When WhyAfrica visited Malawi as part of the 2023 WhyAfrica Road Trip, the country experienced a critical shortage of fuel. My mind involuntarily took me back to a time when the people of Zimbabwe experienced similar challenges in the late 90s and early 2000s.

But this was Malawi, not Zimbabwe. It was 2023, and the country is forging ahead with modernising and rebuilding its economy after suffering debilitating setbacks over the last few years. The Government of President Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has identified agriculture, tourism and mining (ATM) as the sectors critical to Malawi’s revival.  In February this year President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera appointed Minister Chang’anamuno, as the first female Minister of Mining in Malawi, to steer the sector into the right direction.

Minister Chang’anamuno shrugged off my insinuations that she was handed a poisoned chalice with a big smile. Before the morning of our interview, the Minister had to field questions from concerned investors about new changes to Malawi’s mining regulations for a few days, and she surely expected that would be my first question.

Investors do not need to be concerned (Mining in Malawi is not a poisoned chalice Minister Chang’anamuno tells WhyAfrica)   

“I can assure you that investors do not have to be concerned about changes to the mining regulations. The changes include the establishment of a new regulatory body that will work very closely with the Ministry of Mines. In addition, we are in the process of establishing a state mining company that will form partnerships with exploration and mining companies in Malawi,” said Minister Chang’anamuno.

During the morning we discussed not only the opportunities, but also several challenges Minister Chang’anamuno will be up against. One of them, and something very close to her heart, is the plight of women as illegal miners.

“We have a lot of challenges in Malawi. Illegal mining is one of them and we need to find solutions to this problem. We are aware that most of the illegal mining involves communities and especially women in remote villages. We need to encourage these people to apply for official small scale mining licenses with the government. In this way we want to make sure that they have access to formal markets so that they can sell their commodities legally. When they are mining illegally, they are selling their products to illegal buyers, and that is not helping us to develop Malawi’s economy. We want to prevent that from happening,” said Minister Chang’anamuno.

For the full interview, read the upcoming article in the September issue of the WhyAfrica magazine. To subscribe to our newsletters and magazines, click here:   https://www.whyafrica.co.za/subscribe/

Mining in Malawi is not a poisoned chalice Minister Chang’anamuno tells WhyAfrica

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Mining in Malawi is not a poisoned chalice Minister Chang’anamuno tells WhyAfrica

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