News / Africa

Africa Must First Tackle Poverty, Says Ex-Malawi President

Malawi's Ex-President Bakili Muluzi announced his retirement from politics.
Malawi's Ex-President Bakili Muluzi announced his retirement from politics.
Peter Clottey
Malawi’s former president says democracy and independence alone are not the ultimate answer to addressing the growing poverty levels in Africa.

But Bakili Muluzi also says the democratic strides Malawi has achieved will remain meaningless if citizens continue to live in abject poverty.

“Independence alone is not enough. Democracy alone is not enough People don’t eat democracy,” said Muluzi, “We have to provide employment and put food on the table for our people. I think the time has now come for our countries to look at strategies where the people’s sufferings can be reduced. Let us put our resources together to reduce this poverty, which our people have been suffering from a very long time.”   

In an interview with VOA, Muluzi called on current leaders in Africa to implement measures to address the challenge of poverty on the continent. He says that it is unacceptable for Africans to be poor, blessed as they are with enormous natural resources.

“Almost 64 percent of our people live below the poverty line, [and] that is a big concern,” said Muluzi.  “We need to be looking at the suffering of our people. We need to be looking at how we can transform our economic activities for the benefit of the people.  That is my plea to our leaders on the continent.”

He agreed with those who say many politicians in Africa often fail to keep pre-election promises to address poverty when they are elected to power.

Muluzi also said governments have yet to use their country’s natural resources in the effort to improve the living conditions of citizens.

Many African countries, he said, have yet to take serious and pragmatic steps to find solutions that might reduce poverty.

“We should definitely [be] finding strategies to ensure that whatever resources that are coming from minerals are put to use to reduce the poverty of our people,” Muluzi said. “The issue has been the way the economic policies were being put in place. We need to change the way we have been doing things because things have not worked.”

Muluzi says the African Forum, which is group comprised of former African heads of state, plans to meet to come with a strategy to engage current leaders as part of an effort to combat poverty on the continent. The group, with more than 35 members, is chaired by former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano.

“These concerns of poverty have been expressed in our committee and we are saying let us do all that we can to advise our governments through whatever forum we can use in order to convey the sentiment,” continued Muluzi. “Because, indeed, we have a responsibility to help our own government so that they can understand the feelings of the people on the ground.” 

Muluzi said he was hopeful that the African Union has taken serious notice of the challenges of poverty and was devising measures to address the problem.
Clottey interview with Bakili Muluzi, Malawi’s former president
Clottey interview with Bakili Muluzi, Malawi’s former president i
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mateso AKOU from: Nairobi - Kenya
July 02, 2013 10:48 AM
I like the comments made by Ex-President Muluzi. What did he really do to fight poverty in Malawi when he was in power? All these African presidents (former and currents) are letting Africa down, most of them providing only for their stomachs, the ordinary citizens suffering. They will be accountable to God for the way they misused African resources.

by: Bella Ikpasaja from: London
July 01, 2013 12:14 PM
Mr Muluzi is absolutely right.. My hope for Africa is that one day VERY soon, governments will unite to eradicate hunger, child malnutrition and abject poverty. That food security becomes top of the agenda, as their economies grow. Should this narrative continue alongside economic prosperity, Africa will have failed its people. However I don't believe we will fail. We cannot.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More