Irish President says Malawi indeed ‘warm heart of Africa’

Ireland President Michael Higgins said he has seen for himself the “warmth” of Malawians with the good reception he received when he landed in the capital, Lilongwe,  Monday on an official State Visit.

President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina on their arrival to Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe, Malawi. Photograph: Chris Bellew / Copyright Fennell Photography 2014

President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina on their arrival to Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe, Malawi. Photograph: Chris Bellew / Copyright Fennell Photography 2014

As the first Irish President to visit Malawi,  he was accorded full military honours mounted by Malawi Defence Force  when he landed at midday.

He was also greeted to traditional dances.

“I think Malawi is known as the warm heart of Africa and that is certainly reflected in the great warmth of the reception Irish people receive here, they talk about that,” said President Higgins to reporters.

“As the first visit of an Irish President I am very honoured and privileged to be here and to the talks that I will have of any facility I can towards of being any assistance,” he said.

During his three-day visit Higgins said he was to”experience the work that Irish Aid is doing” in the southern African country.

He pointed that the Irish Aid programme has expanded from about €6.7m in 2007 to €20m last year.

Higgins said Malawi, which has a population of 12 million people, faces the most challenges of any African country, including that like Ireland, of debt.

“I’m very conscious that Malawi combines some of the greatest challenges in Africa, challenges of HIV/Aids, challenges of hunger and also an inherited long challenge and overhang of debt.

“I have been interested myself in Malawi and how it extricates itself from the stranglehold of inherited debt, where for example in 1970 Malawi had a debt of $290m, it repaid $260m and yet two years ago it had a debt of $230m, it had been paying interest,” said the Irish leader.

Speaking Monday night at a dinner hosted by Malawi Head of State Arthur Peter Mutharika, Higgins has said memories of the first World War should forever be a warning against extreme nationalism.

“No other dependency in Africa suffered the loss of such a high proportion of its young manhood as Malawi did…May the remembrance of those events guard us forever against the dark passions of extreme nationalism.”

He also congratulated Malawi  for  celebrating in July the 50 years of independence from Britain.

“One of the most damaging aspects of colonialism, I believe, is the way it shatters our view of the past. How to imagine a future released from the burdens of distorted past memories and seemingly insurmountable, present difficulties?”

He suggested the key lay in the word “imagine”. It was “the important term here”, he said. “Indeed, while brutal and inhuman deeds cannot, for the most moral of reasons, be forgotten, it is only through an act of imagination and creativity that we can prevent the tragic past from colonising the future.”

Higging is visiting Malawi   from Addis Ababa on his African tour and has since called for a rethink of the world’s relationship with Africa .

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14 thoughts on “Irish President says Malawi indeed ‘warm heart of Africa’”

  1. nick says:

    Let us hope that the Higgins family doesn’t have to waste all their time giving Warm Heart speeches and can quickly get on with the main business of handing over, and consuming with APM, the 20 million euros of Irish aid money!

  2. Jozymwa says:

    Corruption is the enemy of every country. If our leaders can’t steal government and public resources it can indeed still be called the MALAWI WARM HEART OF AFRICA,but these days MALAWI it could be better to be called MALAWI HOT HEART OF AFRICA. Our leaders have ceased to minister for their people,rather to feed their stomachs. God will surely judge accordingly.

  3. i wonder wth sm idiotic comments put foward by some lazy idiots here. if u dnt work hard, dont expect the president coming to yo rescue, if u feel like we are nt the warm heart of africa then go to hell and scratch yo swollen balls. pussylickers

  4. Momo sam says:

    we benefit nothing for being nice,look at other countries like egypt,southafrica volatile but rich and happy,we smile at the west for nothing,we praise them everyday but any slight misunderstanding they withheld fund,WE GAIN NOTHING WITH OUR WARM HEART OF AFRICA RUBBISH.

  5. TRUCK says:

    That’s why the President failed to attend the late President Sata funeral he is right he have to welcome the Irish President you know we got money problem may be they will give us some Aid good move Mr Peter Muntharika keep it up.

  6. vindere says:

    This country is no longer the warm heart of Africa it used to be. This saying has long been destroyed by people from Southern Region with their tribalistic mentality. The country is just waiting to explode if these people are not careful about the way they are handling things.I for one don’t even like the name itself “MALAWI”. It pisses me off.

  7. Concerned Malawian says:

    if a well to do country like ireland can have its president fly in an ethiopian airlines, why the fuck does this idiot called mntharika, the so called leader for a number seven poorest country you can ever imagine, need a chatered plane or indeed a private jet?

  8. Observer says:

    Very interesting! Irish President on Malawian Airways!!!! When our own would rather charter!!! Shame upon us!

  9. dumerangi says:

    so the president of iriland spoke some wise words into our dunderhead president. Did Malawi here what the wise reader said? i was so impressed by what he said.

    Lets remove corruption and move ahead to develop our country

  10. nabanda says:

    DPP, Please don’t hire a plain in future.

  11. D says:

    It is worthy noting that the Irish President is using commercial airlines in a number of countries he has been so far. So I am really troubled by the suggestion that we need a presidential jet once again. There is also no adequate justification for chartering a plane everytime the President travels because the connections are now much better than a few years ago. Let us accept that while that may be the norm among some poor African countries, we can spend our limited resources much better by prioritising those areas that would benefit the very poor among us.

    1. ufulu says:

      And his entourage is a handful of key personnel.

  12. nkhedu says:

    Pathetic & misirable country with full of thieves parading themselves like angelic old leaders.Warm heart of africa….my balls!!!!!!

    1. EAGLE'S NEST says:

      WHAT A RICH COUNTRY-IRELAND,WHAT A LEAN ENTURAGE FROM THE RICH STATE.TRAVELS ON COMMERCIAL PLANE-PLS TEACH US TO B ECONOMICAL. WHAT AN EXTRAVAGANT HOST-CHATER PLANES,CARRY EXCESSIVE ENTURAGE. DO WE HAVE ECONOMIC ADVISERS WITH HALF BAKED PHDs or boot lickers?some people teach others silently thru their actionr,PLS TAKE A LEAF MALAWI

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