Malawi Investment Initiative

Commercial investment is the third funding stream of our International Development Fund (IDF), and currently funds our Malawi Investment Initiative.

In October 2016 the Minister for International Development announced that we would invest £1 million from the IDF in Malawian businesses, over a three-year period. This is being match-funded by private investors based in Scotland to provide a total business investment of £2 million for Malawi.

The Malawi Investment Initiative is intended to begin moving Malawi away from reliance on aid (which will still remain important for the foreseeable future) and towards a self-sustaining economy supported by trade and investment.

To successfully secure a portion of this investment, business ventures will need to have a positive social impact, through creating jobs and sustainable livelihoods, as well as financial return.

Management of the funds: African Lakes Company Ltd

The investment is managed by a new Scottish company, African Lakes Company Ltd (ALC), reviving the original African Lakes Company that was established in Glasgow in 1878 to develop trade as an effective way of displacing slavery in Malawi.

ALC has a small board of directors drawn from the investors, and an experienced investment panel made up of private investors and expert advisers. The investment panel will determine investments after considering advice from their appointed Malawian investment advisers.

Edinburgh-based JB Equity Partners are acting as advisers on sustainable investment in food production, by drawing on their experience of consulting and raising equity investment for African agriculture businesses.


ALC is adopting the UN Principles for Responsible Investors. It will be made clear that ALC will not pay and does not condone the payment or receipt of bribes or any other form of corrupt or informal payment.

All recipients of investment from ALC will have to comply with an internal Investment Policy covering good corporate governance, living wage for employees, non-discrimination, no child labour, and so on. They will be expected to pay their fair share of tax to the Malawi Revenue Authority.


The first two investments into companies in Malawi were announced in September 2018:

  • Malawi Mangoes: £380,000 to diversify and meet the growing global demand for dried mangoes, with produce bought from smallholder orchards. This investment will help to secure additional local employment opportunities in a company that already offers several hundred high quality jobs. 
  • Lake Malawi Aquaculture Project: £38,000 to design and pilot commercial fish farming  of indigenous species for the local and regional market. This will help reduce poverty by creating high quality jobs in a rural area. 

Read the news story: Investing in the Malawian economy

Next steps

Further investments are currently being considered and will be announced in due course.


Contact ALC by emailing managing director Robert Anderson at