Clinton endorses Malawi’s Joyce Banda

Former US president Bill Clinton, on a two-day visit to Malawi alongside daughter Chelsea, has leant his weight on the administration of the southern African country’s first female president Joyce Banda, saying she is running a “a very serious government”.

President Clinton pledged his foundation would continue and enhance all projects in Malawi to complement efforts by the Joyce Banda administration to improving people’s livelihoods.

Speaking to reporters in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe, the 42nd US president noted that the Joyce Banda government “is trying to do the right things.”

“I want to tell Malawians that the economic reforms being implemented by this Government are quite commendable; this Government is trying its best to improve things here,” noted the former US President.

Presidents Banda and Clinton share a joke as daughter Chelsea looks on

Presidents Banda and Clinton share a joke as daughter Chelsea looks on

President  Banda  hailed former Clinton for being “a key supporter of my Government and the people of Malawi” in their pursuit to implement a socio- economic transformation agenda.

“I really appreciate the support that both the Clinton Development Initiative (CDI) and the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) have rendered to my Government and the people of Malawi,” the Head of State said when she hosted the visiting Clinton at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe on Wednesday.

The Malawi leader expressed pleasure at the “many achievements” that CHAI has registered in Malawi, including working with the Ministry of Heath, District Health Offices, National AIDS Commission and multiple health facilities to enhance the prevention, care and treatment of HIV/AIDS, reduce child mortality, and improve maternal health.

The President also noted the “commendable” contribution the Clinton Development Initiative has made in agriculture through Rusa Farm in Mchinji where many of our farmers are benefiting.

President Banda handed over the Rusa Farm to the community in June 2012 to enable more women and youth engage in production of legume crops for domestic and export markets, and maize for household food security.

Specific objectives are to increase the productivity of soybeans, beans, groundnuts and pigeon peas through better soil and crop management using seed of improved varieties; increase household utilization of selected legume crops; link farmers in the community to contract commodity buyers and warehouse receipts programmes; and increase export marketing of value-added products from selected legumes.

The President informed President Clinton that the Malawi economy is now recovering, in terms of Growth Domestic Product (GDP) and Agriculture output and that inflation is also going down.

“This recovery is a result of politically difficult but good and necessary policies that my Government has implemented. This included budgetary discipline, monetary and exchange rate policy reforms and private sector development,” she said, thanking President Clinton “for being among the first to respond to the call for the reforms that I had initiated soon after taking over Government”.

On health, the President informed the visiting Clinton her Government is committed to promoting sustained and rapid improvements in the HIV/AIDS and health system delivery.

“In June, UNAIDS identified Malawi as one of the countries in Africa which has shown a rapid decline in new child infections and maternal death due to AIDS. As you may be aware Mr. President, I have been chosen as a global champion on HIV/AIDS and I am committed to doing even more in Malawi,” pledged President Banda.

She also informed President Clinton that in order to ensure an inclusive and shared economic growth, she launched the Mudzi (Village) Transformation Trust in order to uplift the livelihoods of the people in the villages.

“Here, I would like to see that our villages are modernised where they have clean water, they participate in the economic activity of the country and earn some incomes,” she said.

President Clinton will on Thursday tour a Laboratory at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe and President Banda will accompany him.

CHAI has funded the construction, refurbishment and equipping of laboratories in Neno, Chitipa, and Machinga District Hospitals.—(Additional reporting by Thom Chiumia, Nyasa Times)

President Banda welcomes President Clinton and daughter Chelsea on their arrival at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe on Wednesday (1)

President Banda welcomes President Clinton and daughter Chelsea on their arrival at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe on Wednesday (1)

President Clinton and daughter Chelsea listen to President Banda makes her remarks

President Clinton and daughter Chelsea listen to President Banda makes her remarks

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