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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid