JB informs UN: Malawi registering strong economic recovery, to achieve 4 of 8 MDGs

Malawi President Joyce Banda on Tuesday  informed the United Nations (UN) General Assembly  that the country’s economy which she found stuttering when she took over power last year from DPP regime is finally on the mend

Speaking to the United Nations General Assembly , President Banda said when she ascended to seat of power she had committed to tackle political and economic governance problems that she inherited to achieve macroeconomic stability, restore the rule of law, and the observance of human rights.

Banda said the bold economic reforms which her administration embarked on, albeit painful, have been and still remain necessary.

“I am therefore pleased to report to this Assembly, that Malawi is registering a strong economic recovery,” said President Banda.

President Banda addressing the UN General Assembly

President Banda addressing the UN General Assembly

“ For instance, foreign exchange and fuel are available, the currency has stabilised, inflation is declining, and industrial production is up from 30 percent in 2012 to 75 percent in 2013,” Banda said.

According to the Malawi leader,  economic  growth is expected to reach about 5 percent, against 1.8 percent in 2012.

“Furthermore, Malawians are once again enjoying their freedoms and civil liberties as enshrined in the Constitution,” she pointed out.

She said her agenda now is to ensure continued stability so that Malawi  achieve sustainable economic growth.

“Mr. President, I am pleased to say that Malawi, the ‘warm heart of Africa’ is warm again and my Government is committed to staying the course with these reforms. In moving forward, my agenda is to build on the foundations we have laid in order to realize sustainable and inclusive growth.”

President Banda, who faces election next year, has won acclaim in the West for austerity measures and gestures to bolster the economy of the impoverished country.

Millennium Development Goals

Commenting on the progress made on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and debate on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, President Banda commended the UN Secretary-General for his efforts to ensure an inclusive global debate on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

She said more than 750,000 people across 194 countries provided their views, indicating their readiness for bold change and that Malawi was one of the countries selected for the national consultations.

Banda said she believes that in Malawi and beyond, the MDGs have played an important role in concentrating efforts around the common purpose of eradicating poverty, adding that they have raised public awareness about unacceptable levels of poverty, and helped to mobilise action towards a fairer world.

The MDGs, she said, have provided a common framework for monitoring progress, highlighting areas of achievement, as well as challenges.

She said Malawi is on track to achieve four of the eight MDGs—reducing child mortality; combating HIV and AIDS, Malaria and other diseases; ensuring environmental sustainability; and developing a global partnership for development.

But the President reported that Malawi is unlikely to meet the goals for eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; achieving universal access to education; ensuring gender equality and empowerment of women; reducing child mortality and improving maternal health.

She said in view of this and as the end of the MDGs draws closer, Malawi is stepping up its efforts to accelerate the attainment of the MDGs.

“We have identified best practices, as well as the bottlenecks to our progress. In particular, we have understood that gender inequality and lack of empowerment of women are the common constraints limiting our progress towards the MDGs. In response, my Government has developed a new MDGs Acceleration Framework that places significance on removing these barriers, once and for all.”

In building the foundations for the Post-2015 architecture, she said it was vital to reflect on the lessons from Malawi’s experience in the implementation of the MDGs noting four such lessons.

 

She said firstly, the strength of the MDGs lies in the fact that they are focused and targeted which has helped Governments to narrow their focus and concentrate their efforts on the most critical issues, whilst allowing local ownership.

The President said in the case of Malawi, the MDGs were localized through the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy.

Secondly, she said the past 13 years have taught Malawi about the importance of the linkages between these goals. A poor family, for example, is not just economically deprived and is also likely to face a host of other challenges such as environmental vulnerability, abuse of human rights, and lack of or limited access to essential services.

She noted that lifting people out of poverty therefore requires a holistic approach.

Thirdly, she said strong political will and transformational partnerships have accelerated the attainment of most of the MDGs targets.

Finally, she cautioned that different continents were at different levels of development at the time that the MDGs were created. This, she said, created pressure, sometimes leading to unintended consequences.

“In the case of Malawi, in our efforts to achieve universal access to education, quality of education was compromised. And yet, access and quality should not be separated.”

She said the task of developing and achieving consensus on the Post-2015 Development Agenda may not be an easy one. But she urged that to achieve real and lasting change, governments must be committed. To inspire and motivate action, they must be bold and ambitious. And to maximize resources and talents, they need smart partnerships.

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