Page last updated at 21:49 GMT, Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Scotland's relationship with Malawi 2

Education Secretary Michael Russell told MSPs "we have huge opportunities and huge responsibilities" during a debate on Scotland's relationship with Malawi on 7 November 2012.

Speaking during the consensual debate Mr Russell said: "the idea is to link to nations together" through "the web of relationships of which the government is a catalyst".

MSPs passed the government's amended motion and Labour's amendment unanimously.

The Scottish government has recently announced the extension of Scotland's commitment to aiding Malawi in combating climate change and developing renewable energy.

Two specialists from the Scottish government will be seconded to the African state from next year to advise their government following discussions between Scottish and Malawian Environment Ministers at the Rio+20 conference.

Mr Russell said he felt "incredibly fortunate to have visited Malawi" and noted the impact of Scottish charity Mary's Meals where "just the act of feeding a child each day does miracles".

He noted that the work of the joint permanent commission which met in Zomba during the Education Secretary's visit, the work of Historic Scotland, the Venture Trust and other Scottish organisations and individuals all carry on the good work of David Livingstone who "did remarkable things".

Mr Russell finished saying: "we have to build on his work to make sure that relationship continues to grow".

Labour MSP Sarah Boyack said: "gender analysis needs to underpin the delivery of the millennium goals" in the country where less than 35% of children finish school, less for girl pupils.

Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser highlighted President Joyce Banda's priority is: "to develop trade not aid as a long term goal" and Scotland needed to look at ways of increasing trade links with Malawi.

The first part of the debate can be viewed below:

Scottish Parliament


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