Global Ambassador's Journal Vol 3, Issue 3 December 2019

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Global Ambassador’s Journal is the premiere magazine for diplomats and the first online magazine of an international organization to be devoted solely to the publication of articles and comments by worldwide current or former state Ambassadors focusing on diplomacy and international relations.

Official Journal of International Union of Bilateral Chambers of Commerce and Industry

GLOBAL AMBASSADOR’S

JOURNAL

Global Ambassador’s Volume Journal III | Vol. | Issue III, Issue 3 | 3, December 2019 2019

1


02 Global Ambassador’s Journal | Vol. III, Issue 3, December 2019


GLOBAL

AMBASSADOR’S

JOURNAL

ISSN 2475-7233 (PRINT)

ISSN 2471-8815 (ONLINE)

DECEMBER 2019

VOL. III, ISSUE 3

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA

WWW.GLOBALAMBASSADORSJOURNAL.COM

© COPYRIGHT 2020. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED GLOBAL AMBASSADOR’S JOURNAL.


ABOUT

INTERNATIONAL UNION OF BILATERAL CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY

The International Union of Bilateral Chambers of Commerce and Industry (IUBCCI) is

the world’s largest non-profit organization of the bi-national (bilateral) chambers of commerce

and industry and all of their Unions, Federations or Joint Business Councils dedicated to fostering

the promotion of bilateral trade and commerce, and the exchange of culture and humanity

through means of economic diplomacy. IUBCCI interacts closely with the diplomatic community

to facilitate collaboration between other countries and the U.S. public and private sector leaders

to further a common economic interest and cooperate on solutions for the global economy and

security.

OUR WORK

Creating a Secure

Business Environment

Policy change

Diplomatic Engagement

Economic Forums

Global Security and Peace

Advancing Research and

Development

International Trade

Human Rights

Education


Table of Contents

7

H.E. Fernando Llorca Castro

Ambassador of Costa Rica to the

United States of America

9

H.E. Haris Lalacos

Ambassador of Greece to the

United States of America

13

Commercial Diplomats Club

Official Opening. Working meeting.

Holiday Party

18

H.E. Edward Yakobe Sawerengera

Ambassador of Malawi to the

United States of America

21

H.E. Jacques Pitteloud

Ambassador of Switzerland to the

United States of America

* The views expressed in the articles contained therein

are exactly as sent by the authors and represent their

views in the entirety. The order in which they were

inserted into the content of GAJ is alphabetical based

on the country represented.

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

ISABELLE VLADOIU

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Global Ambassador’s Journal | Vol. III, Issue 3, December 2019


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Costa Rica: The Path to Bicentennial Independence

H.E. Fernando Llorca Castro,

Ambassador of the Republic of

Costa Rica to the United States

of America. Former Minister of

Health and Chair of CCSS (Costa

Rican Social Security Institution).

On September 15, 2021, Costa Rica

will celebrate 200 years of Independence.

The current President of the Republic,

Carlos Alvarado Quesada (2018-2022) has

declared his administration as a transitional

government that will ensure the continuity

of Costa Rican values and principles.

President Quesada’s administration prides

itself on the successful development

of many areas along with expanding

and repairing the trajectory of the

nation, as President Quesada puts it

“unleashing the knots of our well-being.”

According to the 2019 Happiness Report,

Costa Rica ranks 1st in Latin America

and 12th in the world for happiness

levels. “The happiness of a people lies

in their absence of fear to face the

future” and Costa Rica consistently

ranks among other developed countries.

Costa Rican welfare state

Costa Rica is proud to celebrate 71 years

without an army and 78 years of social

guarantees. With a population of 5 million,

32% of individuals are between 15 to 34

years old. Its inhabitants are becoming

older and the resident’s pyramid is turning

into a cylindric figure. With a labor pool

of 2.3 million people expected by 2020,

the total labor force has grown at a rate of

1.5% between 2010 and 2017, according

to the National Stats Institute (INEC),

and there is a female labor force of 40%.

On the topic of gender equality, the

Balance for Better Movement recognized

Costa Rica as a regional leader for the

participation of women in politics,

diplomacy and international relations. In

1949 we became the 98th country in the

world to grant women’s suffrage; 56 years

after the first country in the world did

so. However, since then, Costa Rica has

rapidly developed a long list of symbolic

conquests in this field. Currently, 43%

of the Governing Council and almost

half of the Legislative Assembly (46%) is

comprised of women. The face of Costa

Rican diplomacy is also female, 54% of

Costa Rican diplomats are women. In

the rank of ambassador, there is almost

complete parity with 46% of ambassadors

being women. Costa Rica elected the first

Afro-American descendent women as

Vice President of the Republic in 2018.

Costa Rica ranks number 1 in Human

Capital in Latin America and 29th in

the world (considering the general level

of skills of the workforce and health)

according to the Global Competitiveness

Report 2018 and the Human Development

Report 2018 with 97.4% of adult literacy

rate.

Since 1870 education in Costa Rica is basic,

free and mandatory for boys and girls

with a traditional academic program of

5 years and technical curricula of 6 years.

Education expenditure in 2018 was 7.36%

of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Costa Rica is number one in English

proficiency across Latin America and

Costa Rican workers can provide services

abroad in 13 languages. In 2018 the Costa

Rican government made a commitment to

making Costa Rica a truly bilingual country,

setting English as a national priority. The

initiative will be undertaken by the Ministry

of Education, the National Training

Institute and private sector schools.

With strong public and private health

care system, Costa Rica has fought

Global Ambassador’s Journal | Vol. III, Issue 3, December 2019 07


for universal access since the 80s. Health

expenditure is 7.8% according to a 2019

report on the first System of Health

Accounts (SHA), with the average being

around 8% in the last 5 years.

Costa Rica is also a leader in exporting

health care services. Our country is

the 33rd World’s Healthiest Nation

according to the Bloomberg Index 2018,

with 73.21 points. Costa Rica is also the

25th economy with the most efficient

health care according to Bloomberg

Health-Efficiency Index 2018 that

tracks medical costs, value and the life

expectancy of the 56 best health care

systems in the world.

Thanks to these achievements, Costa

Rica actively promotes Biomedical

research. That’s why, in 2016 as

acting Minister of Health of Costa

Rica, I declared the Human Papilloma

Virus (HPV) Vaccine Trial research

project (ESCUDO) as top public and

national priority. ESCUDO received

support from the public and private

organizations like The Social Security

Fund (CCSS) and the Ministry of

Health of Costa Rica, among others.

ESCUDO is a collaboration between

researchers in Costa Rica and the

National Cancer Institute of the United

States of America.

Additionally, Costa Rica has maintained

a strong National Environmental State

Policy for more than 80 years. We endorse

the National Plan of Decarbonization

CR (2019-2050), which offers a

roadmap to boost the modernization

of our economy by generating jobs and

revitalizing their growth from a model

based on the 3Ds: decarbonization,

digitalization, and decentralization in

electricity production. At least 98% of

our electricity is generated by renewable

sources every year.

Global society will only deliver on the

commitments of the Paris Agreement if

a new level of political ambition among

governments is matched by an equal

level of commitment and determination

from the world’s financial community.

Costa Rica also offers the world’s

greatest markets to 2.5 billion people

with preferential access and 66% of

worldwide GDP. We have 93.9% of

exports of goods covered by 15 Free

Trade Agreements which provide access

to 57 trade partners.

Excellent Business Climate

We have a strong and world-renowned

tradition of peace, democracy, and

stability. In the 2018 Democracy Index,

Costa Rica is second in Latin America

(score 8.07/10) and according to the

Governance Indicators 2018, Costa

Rica has a Political Stability and Absence

of Violence or Terrorism score of

64.29/100, the second-highest in Latin

America.

Costa Rica leads innovation in Latin

America according to the Global

Innovation Index or WIPO 2018. It

is first in Latin America in Innovation

Efficiency, first in Cultural, Creative and

ICT services exports.

We have the first competitive tax

incentives in the region to reach the true

Return on Investment (ROI). Service

projects and manufacturing projects

in the Free Trade Zone Regime will

pay 0% income tax for the first 8 years

of doing business in Costa Rica and

face a 15% income tax the following

4 years. Yet, in all cases, additional

8-year renewal periods are granted if

significant reinvestment is made. That

means that Costa Rica has a strong

Foreign Direct Investment Permanent

National Police because we want to

keep business flowing.

Supporting Foreign Direct

Investment

During the last decade, our country has

seen consistent growth in foreign direct

investment. FDI inflows have grown

an average of 10.3% every year since

2003 according to the BCCR and IMF

2018. In 2017, FDI represented 4.76%

of GDP and FDI per capita reached

US$554.4.

Costa Rica has also experienced

consistent growth in its exports of

goods and services. Exports of goods

and services have grown at an average

annual rate of 6.1% since 2007 (goods

4.8% and services 7.8%). In 2017,

exports and imports of goods and

services represented 67.7% of GDP.

In 2018 medical devices were Costa

Rica’s number 1 industrial export good.

In 2016 Costa Rica was the first exporter

in Latin America of high technology

goods as a percentage of manufactured

exports. Costa Rica exports 4,302

different products to 150 destination

countries.

The medical device industry has yielded

impressive results for Costa Rica.

Even after the 2008 financial crisis, the

sector continues to experience steady

growth. Along with employment and

exports, the complexity of products

manufactured in Costa Rica continues

to evolve (PROCOMER and CINDE

2018).

Costa Rica is also committed to offering

a strong guaranty of legal and security

related dispute settlement. In 1993,

Costa Rica became a member state to

the Convention on International Center

for Settlement of Investment Disputes

(ICSID Convention).

Costa Rica is a signatory of the

convention on the Recognition and

Enforcement of Arbitral Awards.

Under Chapter 10 of the CAFTA-

DR agreement, Costa Rica is legally

obligated to answer investor arbitration

claims submitted under ICSID or

UNCITRAL and accept the arbitration

verdict.

Other free trade agreements create adhoc

arbitral mechanisms or refer to

the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Costa Rica is part of the dispute

settlement mechanism of the WTO.

No local court denies or fails to enforce

foreign arbitral awards issued against

the government.

Becoming a member of the OECD

The Administration has worked

closely with congressional leaders

to establish a multiparty committee

on The Organization for Economic

Co-operation and Development

(OECD) issues. Up to now, Costa

Rica has completed 15 reviews,

3 of them most recently (Public

Governance Environmental Policy and

Competition). In March 2017, health

policies were accepted and 7 reviews are

still pending.

Preparing for the Fourth Industrial

Revolution (4IR) is a major concern for

the Costa Rican Government. Good

governance practices from OECD are

crucial to reaching this goal. As our

Bicentenary quickly approaches, the

people of Costa Rica are ready to receive

it in a distinguished way as we take pride

in the prosperity of our nation.

08 Global Ambassador’s Journal | Vol. III, Issue 3, December 2019


Orlando Brooke @Unsplash

Greece: on a sustainable growth path, forging stronger economic ties

with the United States

H.E. Haris Lalacos,

Ambassador of Greece to the

United States of America

After eight years of economic recession,

the year 2018 was a landmark as a result of

the successful conclusion of the third and

final financial assistance program. Greece

had already returned to solid economic

growth, complemented by a strong track

record of remarkable fiscal results. Greece

has regained the self-confidence in a future

of prosperity, creativity, and growth.

This was achieved through an impressive

stabilization effort and, according to the

Organization for Economic Co-operation

and Development (OECD), one of the

most ambitious reform packages by any

country in recent times. Even though

this effort has had a significant social and

political cost, it was crucial to re-establish

international confidence in the country.

As we move forward, the main objectives

now are sustainable macroeconomic and

fiscal stability (having already succeeded

in having primary budget surpluses for

four consecutive years), and resilience to

external shocks, while taking into account

the need for social inclusion. Under the

national Growth Strategy plan, sustainable

high growth rates are a fundamental

objective; having already achieved 1.5% in

2017 and 2% in 2018, Greece is expected

to surpass its official growth target of 2%

for 2019, as the business climate is already

showing marked improvement. Notably,

unemployment continued its downward

trend to 17% in June 2019, its lowest

level since May 2008. External trade is

also showing marked improvement, as

in 2018 exports of goods and services

reached € 66.7 billion, corresponding to

34% of GDP (exports of goods were at

€ 33.4 billion, for an annual increase of

15.7%). Growth is expected to accelerate

until 2022 driven by investment, private

consumption and foreign demand.

Of note, the normalization of capital

flows, by fully removing capital controls

on September 1st, 2019, significantly

contributes to attracting investment,

increasing employment and further

upgrading Greece’s credit ratings, with

S&P being the most recent example.

Moody’s, having also upgraded Greece in

early 2019, commented that the removal

of capital controls is credit-positive for

Greek banks, strengthening depositors’

confidence and helping banks improve their

funding profile and revenue. Moreover,

the Ministry of Finance submitted, also

last September, an official request for

partial early repayment of IMF loans,

a transaction estimated to yield annual

savings of around € 70 million, improving

debt sustainability. Furthermore, Greek

bonds have been issued in 2019 bearing

yields at historic lows (e.g. the 10-year

bond at only 1.2%, whereas the 3-month

bond fetched a negative interest rate

for the first time ever), reflecting the

continuing improvement in international

investors’ trust in the economy’s prospects.

Greece is re-inventing itself as a dynamic

economy and an important regional

hub, taking advantage of its geostrategic

location at the crossroads of three

continents in the Mediterranean Sea

and its comparative advantages in top

quality human capital, shipping, tourism,

energy, and logistics. Gateway to a

regional market of 340 million people,

it offers business opportunities for both

Greek and foreign companies, in a wide

range of sectors. Constantly pursuing to

improve the business environment and

the country’s credibility with investors,

the Government’s key priorities include

simplifying the investment climate

through a new legal framework and

Global Ambassador’s Journal | Vol. III, Issue 3, December 2019 09


Visit the L. Ron Hubbard Landmark Museum

You’re invited to tour 1812 19th Street NW,

Washington, DC, the landmark location of the first

ever Church of Scientology — where prolific American

author, explorer and founder of Scientology, L. Ron

Hubbard lectured and worked in the late 1950s.

Walk back in time and tour through the historically

restored spaces, exactly as they were 70 years ago.

With galleries of photographs and informative

displays, the museum gives a glimpse of the world

through Hubbard’s eyes.

Step into his 1957 office with his original Remington

typewriter, Atnpex tape recorders, Roneo mimeograph

machine, Grundig radio and other personal artifacts.

From here he built the remarkable administrative

foundation that made possible his work to help people

of diverse cultures, races, religions and creeds, which

increasingly influences human rights, religion and

numerous other fields.

Schedule your visit. Open daily. Free tours.

(202) 234-7490 • tours@lrhindc.org • lronhubbard.org/landmark-sites/dc.html

10 Global Ambassador’s Journal | Vol. III, Issue 3, December 2019


implementing tax reforms and

measures aiming to ease the tax

burden on companies and individuals.

Furthermore, speeding up the

national privatization program is also

a top priority; the privatization agency

HRADF / Hellenic Republic Asset

Development Fund will soon be

launching procedures for additional

important privatizations, such as the

sale of a 30% stake in the Athens

International Airport (AIA), the

sale of a 35% stake in the Hellenic

Petroleum (ELPE) and the partial sale

of the management of 10 regional

ports across the country.

Overall, key economic sectors

attracting more domestic and foreign

investments include tourism, real

estate, logistics, ITC and startups,

energy, transport, and shipping. In

fact, shipping and tourism (+9,7%

in 2017, +10,8% in 2018, reaching

record arrivals exceeding 30 million)

remain key pillars of the economy.

Greece’s international role as a major

maritime nation is well known: the

Greek-owned merchant marine is the

biggest in the world. According to

UNCTAD, Greek-owned fleet ranks

first worldwide with 4,536 vessels,

aggregating 349,195,189 dwt, whereas

according to Lloyd’s List Intelligence,

Greek interests control more than

18.8% of the world dry bulk fleet and

19.8% of the world tanker fleet.

Important recent developments in

the energy sector also warrant special

mention. Greece aims at becoming

a regional energy hub, as well as a

transit country for energy, presently

focusing on enhancing regional

connectivity for natural gas and

electricity. Of relevance, a significant

number of key energy projects are

currently under development, with the

support and contribution of the EU,

such as the Trans Adriatic Pipeline

(TAP), the Inter-connector Greece-

Bulgaria (IGB), the Inter-connector

Greece-North Macedonia, the Interconnector

Greece-Italy (IGI) and

the FSRU at Alexandroupolis in

northern Greece. Greece envisions

strengthening regional cooperation

in the energy sector to overcome

fragmentation in our broader region,

based on the principle “Cooperation-

Connectivity-Complementarity”,

whereas its international cooperation

with countries in the wider region -

in bilateral, trilateral or multilateral

context - are geared for this concept.

The main goal of Greek energy

diplomacy and policy is to maximize

energy security. In this respect, Greece

supports the diversification of sources,

suppliers and routes, as well as the

development of local natural gas

resources. We also follow, with great

interest, the ongoing developments

in the Eastern Mediterranean, as

the discovery of new gas fields have

significantly increased the likelihood

of making the region a new frontier

for Europe’s own gas production.

In this context, Greece endeavors to

develop its own domestic resources, in

the effort to enhance its own energy

security, as well as that of the wider

region. To this end, the Renewable

Energy sector continues to present

considerable potential for further

enhancement and offers excellent

business opportunities, in current and

future projects, for both public and

private investors.

Cristina Gottardi @Unsplash

Moreover, Greece has been pursuing

a future in the oil and gas exploration

sector: so far, 13 concessions, onand

offshore, have been signed

with international consortia for the

exploration and exploitation of

hydrocarbons. It is anticipated that

major international energy companies

will also focus on additional concession

blocks being made available in the

Ionian Sea, west of Greece, south of

the Peloponnese and south of Crete.

In terms of relations between Greece

and the United States, the two

countries have strong and longstanding

economic ties, whereas bilateral affairs

are at a historic high point. Greece

is a reliable partner who shares

key strategic goals with the United

States and is a pillar of stability in

southeast Europe. Notably, the annual

US-Greece Strategic Dialogue was

launched in December 2018 as a new

platform of enhanced cooperation in

the areas of regional initiatives, defense

and security, trade and investment,

energy, law enforcement, and peopleto-people

ties. The Strategic Dialogue

highlights the renewed American

confidence in the Greek economy and

confirms the trend of US companies

expressing increased interest in a wide

range of economic sectors in Greece,

indicating that circumstances are now

more favorable in the country for new

investments.

During the second session of the

Strategic Dialogue, held in Athens

in October 2019, Greece welcomed

increased US interest in investments,

particularly in the fields of innovation

and start-ups. Key business sectors

of mutual interest, as identified by

the “Trade and Investment” Working

Group, are energy, IT, tourism, space,

entertainment, and infrastructure. The

vital importance of energy projects in

the Eastern Mediterranean was also

emphasized with a view to enhancing

regional stability, whereas both

countries expressed their readiness to

support future infrastructure projects

for the diversification of energy routes

and supplies. Moreover, Greece and

the US also cooperate in the context of

the newly established 3+1 cooperation

structure in the Eastern Mediterranean,

including Cyprus and Israel. A key

component of this arrangement is

to explore opportunities in energy

projects and to encourage investment

from the private sector.

The US is an important trading partner

for Greece. In 2018, the bilateral trade

volume was at $ 2.6 billion, an increase

of 19.5% from the previous year.

Greek exports to the US reached $ 1.6

billion, while Greek imports from the

US exceeded $ 1 billion. According to

the most recent Bank of Greece data,

the US is among the top 10 countries

of FDI origin to Greece during the

last decade. A few examples of US

investments to Greece are those of

NCH Capital, York Capital, Phillip

Morris, Wyndham, Third Point,

Oaktree and ONEX, in banking,

hospitality, real estate, manufacturing

and shipyard services, whereas most

recently Pfizer and Cisco announced

new activities in Greece (R&D and

innovation centers). Respectively,

the US is the second most important

destination of Greek FDI, with

aggregate stock exceeding $ 2 billion.

Global Ambassador’s Journal | Vol. III, Issue 3, December 2019 11


12 Global Ambassador’s Journal | Vol. III, Issue 3, December 2019


COMMERCIAL

DIPLOMATS CLUB

Mr. Manuel Oancia, President IUBCCI

and H.E. Dr. Arjun Karki, Ambassador of Nepal to USA

Global Ambassador’s Journal | Vol. III, Issue 3, December 2019 13


COMMERCIAL

DIPLOMATS CLUB

COMMERCIAL DIPLOMATS CLUB

OFFICIAL OPENING

MARCH 27, 2019

Members of the diplomatic corps in Washington,

DC and representatives of the business community

gathered for the inauguration and official opening of

the Commercial Diplomats Club. In attendance were

37 guests, out of which 23 Ambassadors and diplomats

representing a total of 18 nations: Albania, Angola,

Bangladesh, Bahamas, Botswana, Bolivia, Dominican

Republic, Moldova, Mauritius, Morocco, Myanmar,

Nigeria, Panama, Tanzania, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago,

Switzerland and Uzbekistan.

14 Global Ambassador’s Journal | Vol. III, Issue 3, December 2019


Global Ambassador’s Journal | Vol. III, Issue 3, December 2019 15


COMMERCIAL

DIPLOMATS CLUB

COMMERCIAL DIPLOMATS CLUB

FIRST WORKING MEETING

MAY 22, 2019

The event had as theme “Learning how FinTech and IT hubs are

transforming the economies of your country” and brought together

members of the Commercial Diplomats Club (business leaders,

Ambassadors and embassy counselors). A total of 13 countries were

represented: Angola, Bahamas, Kyrgyzstan, Malawi, Mozambique,

Nepal, Philippines, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Romania, Tanzania, Turkey

and the United States of America.

16 Global Ambassador’s Journal | Vol. III, Issue 3, December 2019


COMMERCIAL DIPLOMATS CLUB

HOLIDAY PARTY

DECEMBER 13, 2019

Global Ambassador’s Journal | Vol. III, Issue 3, December 2019 17


Malawi: The Hidden Gem

H.E. Edward Yakobe

Sawerengera

Ambassador of Malawi to the

United States of America

Malawi is a land-linked country located

in southeast Africa. It is bordered by

Zambia to the west, Tanzania to the north,

and Mozambique on the east, south and

southwest. Malawi covers 118,500 square

kilometers (45,560 sq. miles), slightly

smaller than the state of Pennsylvania with

an estimated population of 18,000,000.

Lake Malawi, the third-largest lake in

Africa and one of the deepest in the world,

is home to the greatest number of species

of fish than any other Lake, including 1000

species of cichlids. The terrain of Malawi

is breathtaking, comprising plateaus,

plains, hills and Mountains. Malawi is not

only the warm Heart of Africa but also

the genuinely friendly, safe and in many

ways the undiscovered heart of Africa.

Democratic principles are firmly engrained

in the country. Since its independence in

1964, the country has never suffered a

civil war and its political leaders have come

to power through a democratic electoral

process since 1994. Free-market principles

are also firmly ingrained and successive

Governments have continued to open up

and liberalize Malawi’s economy.

The country is a member of several

international organizations including the

Commonwealth, the UN and some of

its child agencies, the IMF, the World

Bank, the African Union and the World

Health Organization. Malawi tends to

view economic and political stability

in southern Africa as a necessity and

advocates peaceful solutions through

negotiation. The country was the first in

southern Africa to receive peacekeeping

training under the African Crisis Response

Initiative.

Malawi’s climate is hot in the low-lying

areas in the south of the country and

temperate in the northern highlands. The

altitude moderates what would otherwise

be an equatorial climate. Between

November and April, the temperature

is warm with equatorial rains and

thunderstorms, with the storms reaching

their peak severity in late March. After

March, the rainfall rapidly diminishes and

from May to September wet mists float

from the highlands into the plateaus, with

almost no rainfall during these months.

The economy is heavily based on

agriculture and 90% of export revenues

come from this sector. Agriculture

accounts for 35% of GDP, industry for

19% and services for the remaining 46%.

The main agricultural products of Malawi

include tobacco, sugarcane, cotton, tea,

corn, pulses, potatoes, sorghum, and

livestock. The country is blessed with vast

natural resources and it enjoys vast tracts

of beautiful natural scenery including

game reserves and sandy beaches along

the beautiful Lake Malawi.

In the past decade, Malawi has been

able to make significant economic and

structural reforms and sustain economic

growth but remains one of the poorest

countries in the world. The economy is

heavily dependent on agriculture, and it is

vulnerable to external shocks.

The country’s development is guided by

the Malawi Growth and Development

Strategy (MGDS), a series of five-year

plans that contribute to the long-term

development goals outlined in Vision 2020.

Currently in MGDS III, with the theme

“Building a Productive, Competitive and

Resilient Nation, will run through 2022

18 Global Ambassador’s Journal | Vol. III, Issue 3, December 2019


and its focus is on education, energy,

agriculture, health, and tourism. In

2018, the growth of Malawi’s real GDP

is projected to have moderated to 3.5%

from 4% in 2017. This is due to lower

output in agriculture caused by dry

spells and fall armyworm infestation.

Performance in industry and service

sectors was also subdued because of

erratic energy supply and a generally

weak business environment.

The FY2017/18 fiscal deficit widened

from 4.8% the previous year to 7.8%

of GDP. The deterioration was largely a

result of lower than expected revenues

and grants, securitization of payment

arrears dating back to FY2012/13, and

expenditure associated with the bailout

of a parastatal. Year-on-year headline

inflation has receded to single-digit

reaching an annual average headline rate

of 9.2% in 2018. The continued stability

of the Kwacha relative to the US Dollar

since 2017 has partly helped contain

inflation in single digits. The Reserve

Bank of Malawi reduced its policy

interest rate to 14.5% in early 2019.

Malawi has made progress in building

its human capital—the knowledge,

skills and health that people accumulate

over their lives—in recent years. Life

expectancy is up to 64.2 years in 2018

(World Health Organization) from

63.9 in 2017. The total fertility rate in

2015/16 was 4.4 children per woman

down from 6.7 in 1992. Self-reported

literacy (reading and writing in any

language) is 81% for males and 66% for

females (15+ years of age).

Malawi has a highly favorable investment

climate for both local and foreign

companies including a disciplined and

skilled workforce, a stable and growing

economy and an excellent central

location. Malawi boasts of a peaceful

and stable economy that offers security

to both life and property. It operates

the One-Stop Service Centre through

the Malawi Investment and Trade

Centre (MITC), where investors get

all necessary investment- processing

requirements under one roof in just

under five days.

Malawi is a signatory to several bilateral

and multilateral trade agreements as

part of its trade policy. These provide

preferential access to world markets

under the Common Market for Easter

and Southern Africa (COMESA),

Southern Africa Development

Community (SADC), European Union

(EU) and the African Growth and

Opportunity Act (AGOA).

Malawi is a gold mine, flooded with

untapped economic opportunities

waiting to be explored. Potential

opportunities for investment

abound, particularly in the following

sectors: agriculture, energy, mining,

manufacturing, infrastructure

development/ICT, Tourism and finance.

Malawi offers an increasingly attractive

destination for foreign investors, with

competitive investors’ tax incentives

package. The country is a party to

investor protection agreements and is

becoming the most competitive place

to do business in the region. Malawi has

modern telecommunication, daily flight

connections and access to regional and

international markets.

Malawi’s legal system is founded

on English Common Law. The

constitution of the Republic of Malawi

(1995) enshrines the basic freedom

to invest, freedom to own property,

and guarantees fair compensation

in the event of expropriation. The

court system is categorized into the

Magistrate’s Court, the High Court, and

the Supreme Court of Appeal. The

country also has commercial courts to

accelerate the settlement of businessrelated

litigations.

Global Ambassador’s Journal | Vol. III, Issue 3, December 2019 19


The government welcomes private

investment and does not impose

restrictions on the ownership or

location of investment. Foreign Direct

Investment (FDI) is permitted in all

sectors of the economy except for

those sectors or activities that may pose

a danger to health, the environment or

the security of the nation. Noteworthy

is the freedom of entry and exit in terms

of investment in the country.

Foreign exchange operations in Malawi

are governed by the Exchange Control

Act. Investors are permitted full

remittance of dividends, investments

capital on repatriation, interest and

principal payments for approved

international loans, and approved feed

for managements, licenses, royalties,

and similar obligations. The Anti-

Money Laundering Act was passed in

August 2006 to enhance the soundness

and stability of the financial system and

financial institutions in the country.

Malawi is today’s preferred choice as a

location for FDI. The country enjoys

proximity and easier access to the nearby

seaports of the world. Malawi also enjoys

direct air links with major airports in

Southern Africa region which facilitate

the movement of passengers as well

as freight. These international airports

include; Johannesburg (South Africa),

Lusaka (Zambia) and Nairobi (Kenya).

Malawi is now home to over fifty FDI

companies from the USA, UK, Japan,

China, RSA, and Germany amongst

others. These companies operate mainly

in the manufacturing and processing

sectors, agriculture, tourism, mining and

property development.

U.S. products in significant demand

include pharmaceuticals, used clothing,

telecommunications equipment, used

trucks, agricultural machinery, and

mechanical parts. In the agricultural

sector, agro-processing, storage,

cleaning and grading facilities and

equipment represent areas for potential

U.S. investment.

Investment opportunities also exist

in electricity generation (hydro, solar,

wind, and coal), mining and tourism.

There are approximately 25 U.S.-

affiliated companies doing business in

Malawi, including two of the principal

processors and exporters of tobacco,

seed companies, a hotel chain, discount

retailer, and distributors and franchisees

of U.S. brands.

The government of Malawi from

time to time specifies focus areas for

investment. Currently, the Government

has prioritized the following sectors:

There are various investment

opportunities in Agriculture, including

livestock production (for dairy and

beef), aquaculture, horticulture,

agro-processing, sugar, piggery,

honey production, integrated cotton

development, cassava production.

Energy is crucial as it supports other

industries for sustainable economic

growth and infrastructure development.

Huge private investment is required

to meet the increasing energy demand

for both household and industry use.

Hydroelectricity, fossil fuels and biomass

are the most used energy sources in

Malawi. The Government is inviting

local and foreign investors to invest in

the following areas; Hydro generation,

distribution and transmission, solar

energy, Fuel storage and oil pipeline

facilities and wind energy. It is our hope

that you will consider investing in the

Warm Heart of Africa.

20 Global Ambassador’s Journal | Vol. III, Issue 3, December 2019


Switzerland – a trustworthy partner adding value to the U.S. economy

H.E. Jacques Pitteloud

Ambassador of Switzerland to the

United States of America

Centuries of political upheaval,

economic crises and social unrest have

filled many chapters of European history

books. Borders were erased and re-drawn,

alliances shifted and political regimes

changed. Amidst the breadth of European

history, a seemingly small country has—

while evolving from a small alliance of

three cantons in 1291 to the model direct

democracy it is seen as today—been

remarkably successful at carrying on its

ancient traditions, political peculiarities

and economic growth. Admittedly, things

take a little more time in Switzerland than

elsewhere: it might have taken us two

votes to join the U.N., but now we are

one of its most active members and are

even applying to join the Security Council.

Nonetheless, despite all current economic

and political uncertainties, Switzerland

has remained steady in its importance

to the United States (and vice versa).

Switzerland’s economic impact in the

United States has certainly remained

at a high level despite recent general

slowdowns of the European economies.

Looking at most key indicators—foreign

direct investment, trade, employment,

research and development (R&D)

spending, as well as the total number

of companies and affiliates—not one

has decreased in the last five years.

On the contrary, all of these numbers are

growing. Its cumulative direct investment

of $310 billion makes Switzerland the

seventh-largest investor in the United

States. This is substantial for a country

that does not even rank among the top

10 most populous countries in Europe,

yet nonetheless outspends more than half

of them. Foreign direct investment has

grown by 40 percent over the past five

years, outpacing Japan and the United

Kingdom and only surpassed by three

other European countries. The innovative

spirit of the Swiss economy also continues

to have a positive impact on the United

States due to Switzerland’s R&D spending

in the country. Who would have thought

that in 2016, the last year of available data

from the U.S. government, Switzerland

ranked first in terms of R&D spending

among all foreign investing countries? In

2016, one-fifth of overall foreign affiliates’

R&D spending was due to Swiss affiliates,

a number that is steadily increasing.

The bilateral trade of goods and services

between the two countries continues

to show a balanced overall picture. The

United States imported more goods

from Switzerland, but, conversely,

Switzerland imported more services

from the United States, a number

which is consistently growing as well.

Well over 5,000 Swiss companies and

affiliates are domiciled in the United

States. Almost half a million U.S. jobs

can be attributed to these affiliates,

which are spread throughout all 50 states.

This number has grown by 14 percent

in a decade (2006–2016), outpacing its

northern neighbor, Germany. Most jobs

were attributed to the services sector,

with manufacturing jobs a close second,

and R&D jobs ranking third. Salaries paid

by Swiss companies remain the highest

of all foreign countries’ affiliates (at an

average of $101,800). However, Swiss

affiliates contribute not only in terms

of salary but also by ranking among the

top three taxpaying foreign affiliates.

Ultimately, these numbers offer a

convincing reason to further deepen

Global Ambassador’s Journal | Vol. III, Issue 3, December 2019 21


economic relations between

Switzerland and the United States.

Based on broad support from

members of the U.S. Congress—

expressed in a letter to U.S. Trade

Representative Robert Lighthizer—

Switzerland looks forward to

prospective exploratory talks

concerning a free trade agreement.

In the increasingly troubled waters

of today’s global unrest, Switzerland,

with its trustworthiness and

constancy, remains solid as a rock. As

these numbers show, this seemingly

small country, which is, in fact, a

medium European power, has defied

current uncertainties to remain a

reliable partner across the board.

From representing U.S. interests

in Iran as a protecting power to

contributing to current innovation in

the United States due to the intensive

interdependencies of the two

economies, Switzerland continues its

tradition of steadiness. I am looking

forward to carrying on my country’s

tradition and fostering bilateral

dialogue and successful economic ties

with the United States of America.

Eberhard Grossgasteiger @Unsplash

22 Global Ambassador’s Journal | Vol. III, Issue 3, December 2019


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