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President of Malawi cancels trip to the Bahamas following Vice President’s plane crash

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Malawi President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has canceled his upcoming visit to the Bahamas due to a severe aviation incident involving Vice President Dr. Saulos Klaus Chilima. 

The plane, which was also carrying nine other individuals, crash-landed in the Chikangawa forest this Monday, prompting immediate national concern.

Scheduled international engagements impacted

President Chakwera was slated to participate in the 31st African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) annual meeting and the Afri-Caribbean Trade and Investment Forum in Nassau from June 12-14. 

This event is expected to host over a thousand delegates, including leaders and officials from both Africa and the Caribbean, along with prominent figures from various sectors such as banking and academia. 

The forum marks a historic occasion as it is the first Afreximbank annual meeting to be held in the Caribbean.

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Strategic opportunities missed

The Malawi Foreign Ministry highlighted the significance of President Chakwera’s participation, which was to be underpinned by the sponsorship of Afreximbank. 

The visit was seen as a crucial opportunity for Malawi to secure additional support and to establish further partnerships aligning with the nation’s Agriculture, Tourism, and Mining (ATM) Strategy and its new initiatives on special economic zones and industrial parks.

Additional travel plans halted

In addition to his commitments in the Bahamas, President Chakwera was also expected to travel to Bürgenstock, Switzerland, to attend the Global Peace Summit on June 15-16.

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However, these plans have been put on hold in light of the recent tragic events.

Ongoing rescue efforts

The Malawi government disclosed that the Vice President and the accompanying individuals were aboard a Malawi Defence Force aircraft scheduled to land at Mzuzu International Airport. 

Following the crash, aviation authorities have been unable to establish contact with the aircraft. 

President Chakwera has directed all national and regional agencies to launch an immediate search and rescue operation to locate the missing aircraft and its occupants, underscoring the urgency of the situation.

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