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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs