PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said African countries should look to emerging economies for products and services as opposed to obtaining them from developed nations.
“The small- and medium-enterprises (SMEs) of Malaysia and Africa should collaborate, because our SMEs have a lot to offer their counterparts,” he said in his keynote address at the ninth Langkawi International Dialogue.
He noted an increase in trade between Malaysia and its African partners since the forum started in 1995 – last year, the figure amounted to RM25bil, which was 39% higher compared to 2009.
The Prime Minister urged participating countries to make innovation a priority in order to achieve a competitive edge in the global arena.
He said Malaysia, which emphasised innovation as part of the country’s policy to ensure high productivity, was willing to work with participating members to drive their economies towards innovation and socio-economic transformation.
At the event, Najib, on behalf of Limkokwing University of Creative Technology which has campuses in Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland, announced scholarships worth RM12mil to deserving students for degree programmes in smart technology and creativity.
The university will provide 45 full tuition scholarships, 450 partial scholarships with 30% less tuition fees and five-day training programmes in transformational leadership for 150 government officers.
Najib also held bilateral meetings with leaders from three African nations on the sidelines of the Langkawi International Dialogue.
He met Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, Swaziland Prime Minister Dr Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini and Ugandan vice-president Edward Sekandi.
Mugabe said there were vast opportunities for foreign investors to take part in his country’s development.
He said areas that could be explored were mining, tourism, power generation and distribution infrastructure, water supply, road and rail networks and telecommunications.
Dr Dlamini said he and Najib discussed how their countries could strengthen bilateral co-operation, particularly on the economic aspects.
Source : The Star