The Ministry of Foreign Affairs acts as a link between Malawi and the rest of the world including multilateral organizations. It is the government organ responsible for formulating, implementing and monitoring the foreign policy of the government of the Republic of Malawi. The Ministry facilitates the promotion of good political, economic and social relations between the country and other countries and international organizations.
In order to achieve its objectives, the Ministry works in close liaison with line technical ministries, departments, parastatal organizations, non-governmental organizations and the private sector. While these institutions carry out their technical and professional work under mandates, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs plays facilitatorsâ€™ relationships between these institutions and other countries and international organizations.
The Ministry developed in 2000, Malawiâ€™s first written foreign policy that comprehensively sets out the direction the ministry should follow in its efforts towards the socio-economic development of the country. The Foreign Policy reiterates the maintenance of Malawiâ€™s territorial integrity, security and sovereignty, sustenance of economic growth and development, protection of human rights, democracy, fundamental freedoms and the environment.
While pursuing traditional diplomacy, Malawiâ€™s Foreign Policy emphasis is on development diplomacy, aimed at promotion of trade, investment and tourism through active participation in bilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation agreements.
The Ministry is headed by the Principal Secretary who is also the Controlling Officer. The Ministry headquarters has four departments namely administration,Â International Economic Cooperation, Political Affairs and Protocol.
The Administration Department facilitates the activities of the other departments of the Ministry as they endeavor to fulfill the ministryâ€™s mission and plans. In facilitating the activities of the other departments, the administration Department ensures that necessary goods and services are provided to the ministry in so far as human, financial and material resrources permit.
The Political Affairs Department
The Political Affairs Department is primarily involved in monitoring external political and social developments with view to advising government on their implications on the international scene. Particular emphasis is placed on how these developments will impact on Malawiâ€™s external relations. The main objective of the department is to maintain sound relations with the global community as a framework for advancing Malawiâ€™s national interests within the country and abroad. In addition, it also provides recommendations and advises the Head of State, and the Minister and the rest of Government on topical political and social issues.
The Protocol Department
The Protocol Department has the responsibility of handling State and Government functions and matters relating to such functions. In this connection, it advises the Government at all levels on Protocol matters in general. It also administers the Vienna convention on Diplomatic and Consular relations.
The Department of International Economic Cooperation
The Department ofÂ International Economic CooperationÂ is charged with the responsibility of promoting Malawiâ€™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 tract through an aggressive investment drive, focused promotion of tourism and active mobilization of aid with favourable terms.
The Department ofÂ International Economic CooperationÂ also serves as secretariat for technical cooperation Agreements which the Government of Malawi has entered into with a number of countries. The Technical Cooperation Agreements provide for the establishment of Joint Commission of Cooperation which guides the operationalisation of the areas of cooperation. The Joint Commissions of Cooperation provide a framework through which Malawi cooperates with other countriesÂ through joint meetings and exchange visits, sharing ofÂ experiences, ideas and skills and mapping out strategies of enhancing mutually beneficial cooperation in the economic, political and socio-cultural spheres.