Csaba Szeremley, director of Malawi HTCC (Hungarian Trade and Cultural Center), gave an interview to globoport.hu and talked about the new center in Malawi’s busiest city, Blantyre, which was opened on 16 March 2015, the success of the past year, and their plans for 2016.
According to Szeremley, the year 2015 was highly successful for the Malawi HTCC, as the center has built an extensive network. Also a container full of goods was already exported and there was no problem with the tolls as well. Two Hungarian business delegations have visited the center so far, and the African-Hungarian Union’s medical mission was also welcomed: the doctors treated the poor in Malawi for a month.
The center’s plans for 2016 include organizing more cultural and business events, such as the highly successful Hungarian Days. The first business and humanitarian delegations should arrive in Malawi in early March, where the members can meet potential partners from the region. One of the center’s most important goals for 2016 is to extend the number of their goods and services. Besides business, the HTCC also intends to set up the first Hungarian ambulance service in the country, because as surprising it may sound, there’s no established service there so far, and it would be a great step to have one.
Malawi is among the 10 poorest countries in the world, its economy is extremely weak, and depends heavily on funds. Most of the citizens (80%) work in the fields, and the country’s most important export goods are coffee, tobacco, sugar, and tea. The Hungarian experts could provide crucial information to improve the country’s agriculture, make better food, which then could be exported, or sold in local markets.
According to Szeremley, Malawi has a huge potential, and it’s only a matter of work if someone can make use of the country’s gifts. There’s a constant food shortage in Malawi despite having huge areas of unused lands and fields. HTCC’s goal is to make a name in the Malawi food industry, and sell the produced goods in local markets. However, it’s also important to grow plants and crops that could later be sold in other countries, such as India, as the country has a strong presence in Malawi and it’s the biggest buyer of the local legumes.
Szeremley also said that thanks to the medical missions, people get to know Hungarians better; they know who these people are and where they have come from. HTCC also plays a great part in making the Hungarian habits and culture popular among the locals.
Although the local history books mention Hungary, the most interesting thing is the Hungarian sausage, that’s immensely popular among the citizens. Szeremley intends to find the manufacturers and reach out to them, to have more information about their work, how they make these sausages, and why they call it Hungarian. The sausages taste good (it can’t compete with the original of course), they are available in almost every shop, but what’s most important to locals is that it’s relatively cheap.
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