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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs