Malawi not developing, says German Ambassador: Donors say ‘mind the gap between rich and poor’

German ambassador to Malawi Dr. Peter Woeste has said Malawi has failed to move forward economically in the past five years as compared to its neighbors.

German Ambassador,Dr Peter Woeste with Finance Economic Planning and Development Minister, Dr. Goodal Gondwe, address the press on Second High Level Forum Meeting at BICC in Lilongwe-(c) Abel Ikiloni, Mana

German Ambassador,Dr Peter Woeste with Finance Economic Planning and Development Minister, Dr. Goodal Gondwe, address the press on Second High Level Forum Meeting at BICC in Lilongwe-(c) Abel Ikiloni, Mana

Finance Minister Goodal Gondwe with German Ambassador, Dr. Peter Woeste address the Press after the Second High Level Forum Meeting on Development Effectiveness at BICC in Lilongwe-(c) Abel Ikiloni, Mana

Finance Minister Goodal Gondwe with German Ambassador, Dr. Peter Woeste address the Press after the Second High Level Forum Meeting on Development Effectiveness at BICC in Lilongwe-(c) Abel Ikiloni, Mana

Woeste, who is the current chairperson of the Development partners Troika, threw away all the diplomatic language and was blunt to Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe and other senior cabinet ministers at a high level Forum on Development effectiveness at Bingu International Conference Center (BICC) in Lilongwe on Wednesday, saying.donors are not happy with government policies that are partly to blame for endless poverty.

“The current policies need to be changed to meet the changing times,” he said.

He described the poverty situation in Malawi as a crisis which needs urgent attention.

“We, the donors are analysing this, we want to find out why Malawians are becoming poorer and poorer yet we are providing US$1 billion a year to reduce poverty, we want to find out what is wrong,” he said.

He said there should be policy changes and government should ensure that more investment comes into the country.

Among other things Woeste cited a sharp decline in GDP from 2014 to date and the ever increasing number of people in need of food.

According to Woeste US$ 1 billion is invested in the country from donors annually and wondered “why is the country failing to progress. We are asking ourselves why didn’t the billions of euros, dollars and pounds in more than fifty years bring results we and all Malawians have been striving for”.

Woeste also tipped government to make its priorities clear and invest in those initiatives that have the greatest development return.

On corruption, he said it is surprising that the country is still struggling to fight the vice despite President Peter Mutharika been clear that he will fight the Mal-practice.

“We are still reading about new scandals almost every day, the investigative journalism in itself is a good sign. In this regard Malawi is a fine example for press freedom. However the follow up needs to be improved, “ he said.

The German envoy also said he gets “annoyed” when donors are asked “like headmasters about what they think” after Parliament presentation of budgets – which they normally comment diplomatically to speak positives.

Taking his turn, Minister of Finance and economic planning Goodal Gondwe conceded that the country is going through tough times but said government is working hard to reverse the situation.

He said it’s time to change some policies that are no longer relevant in the current situation citing the subsidy policy.

“We need to review the Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP) because it focuses much on smallholder farmers and now we cannot only be producing for subsistence we need to sell our produce,” he said.

Gondwe said : “We  will always listen to our development partners on what we should do to improve the situation, we will always listen.”

The concern by donors come at a time when ruling Democratic Progressive Party officials led by President Peter Mutharika are crisscrossing the country, telling people that life has tremendously improved in the two year rule of the party.

The high Level Forum on Develepment was called on to allow stakeholders discuss a new National  Development Strategy as the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy  expires this month.

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21 thoughts on “Malawi not developing, says German Ambassador: Donors say ‘mind the gap between rich and poor’”

  1. Wakuda ngati usiku says:

    Atenge aid money Yawoyo Yomwe anachita accumulate by enslaving anthu akuda all over the world. From the Congo making the Congolese work for free to produce rubber for King Leopold and chopping of limbs so that Europeans can have cars with tyres Michelin and all them devil companies. to south Africa making Africans work in the gold mines for next to nothing and taking the resources to build Europe . to thangata system right here in our back yard. . To unfair trade practices and corrupt practices which African people still haven’t recovere from and you want to talk about Malawi hasn’t developed. We didn’t make anyone work for free nor did we go to eropre to steal and kill your people. Europe doesn’t subsidize Africa. No, Africa does. That is why there are diamond wars, oil wars, and all kinds of wars. And this mzungu with his red face sits and insults your intelligence and a Malawi agrees with him. Just DIE ALL OF YOU UNTIL YOU WAKE UP

  2. Kampoloma says:

    Goodall aside but how long will Malawi remain a “slave” to these neocolonial masters?

  3. Kalata Ya Muwerengi says:

    This could in part be because some of the monies donated is embezzled by officials from the donor nations.

  4. Dwambazi says:

    What poverty crisis ????? Our stupid leaders need to first accept that we are indeed poor and that the money they pocket is not meant for them but for the poor people who put them in office.

  5. Issa says:

    The man Woeste is right, however we are the problem. We smile at stupid things. We don’t hold our leaders accountable. Our choices determine our destiny. Imagine dpp telling you that your life has improved and you smile and clap for him, Amalawi timasekerera dzopusa that’s why we cant develop. We prefer political parties at the expense of development. May be we need to define poverty. What do we really mean when we say Malawi is poor? Help me guys.

  6. Jon Maken says:


    The impatience and angst are well founded. We are evidently in a state of collective defective equilibrium. As the donors diplomatically imply, unless we wake up from the perennial slumber, we are bequeathing rot to posterity and condemning future generations to more misery.

    When shall we stand tall among the league of nations? When shall we cease being referenced to as the first amongst the poorest? What’s so special about countries that have made it? Where is our national pride?

    We have for long approached government and governance nonchalantly; as if we are contented with the status quo. We have time and again rhetoricized about “no more business as usual”. Alas, it remains a passing fad, a popular refrain, a buzzword, an empty signifier, a weasel word, etc.

    We are at a critical juncture indeed! Our policies should at the very least reflect a sense of urgency. Our execution should speak of purpose! Our leadership and followership should resound “ndizotheka!”. We should reassert our comparative advantage and up our competitiveness.

    The world is moving fast. We can no longer afford being perennial takers and watch with abandon the rest of the world edging forward. We can sort out the public financial system, the private sector, agriculture, tourism, infrastructure, energy etc. We can leverage our resources: plentiful peace, thriving democracy, steady rule of law, young/energetic population, bountiful land, beauteous lake, cascading rivers, rolling mountains, virgin forests, teeming wildlife, unexploited extractives, a horde of professionals being laid to waste, our kindred scavenging in far flung lands in search of the good life. We can for real make this country attractive to investment.

    Let’s rise above mediocrity and assume responsibility for our destiny. Let’s institutionalize productivity and service delivery by enculturating servitude and nationhood. Let’s consolidate governance (institutions) by depoliticizing and professionalizing the public service. Let’s embrace strategic planning/execution and generational thinking. Let’s quit policy capture by a short-termistic/idiosyncratic politics. Let’s embrace and encourage innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit. Let’s reinvigorate our education system. Let’s stimulate the private sector. Let’s shun corruption. Let’s quit patrimonial politics. Let’s enlighten the franchise and enfranchise the disarticulated body politic. Let’s quit being spectators in the globalization project. Let’s keep the “malawi a moto” ablaze and live to our national emblem’s billing!!

  7. Winston Msowoya says:

    By all means,Malawians will never escape from the present day economic and political quagmires in the sense that the leader himself is deeply corrupt and viciously divisive.As one unlettered commentator put it that Peter is an honest leader,himself too,is not honest for telling dishonest opinions.The fact remains that under Peter’s stewardship,the economy of our country will remain stagnant for the rest of our lives,while himself and his cronies continue to fill their foreign bank accounts,right now people are just looking to God to emancipate them from the MOLTEN LAVA spewing poisonous gas.The amount Malawi receives from the donor nations and other friendly nations,the economy could have improved drastically,but due to lack of transparency,the funds are channelled to sustain personal undertakings that benefit a tiny group of satellites instead of the poor majority of our people.No amount of aid funds will help the needy ones without the strict and stringent rules.Malawi is now 52 years of nationhood,but still remains a nation of beggars and the disparity between rich and poor is atrociously unexplainable.We have to be seriously aggressive to narrowing this gap,we cannot just sit and fold our hands while our people are dying a slow death.

  8. Jalavikuba says:

    The observation by the Donor Community (DC) through Woeste is very correct, cancerous and painful at the same time. What I do not understand is his feigning ignorance as to why? Also what I do not understand is his period of analysis, 5 years as if we were developed the period before that. Are you (Woeste) sure that DC provides $1 billion per year to Malawi since when (again the last five years??), Jesus wept!!
    If the facts from WOESTE are something to BELIEVE it is him and his colleagues (DC) that are a problem to our poverty. What this tells me is very simple, they have always invested in NON-MEANINGFUL or UNSUSTAINABLE projects or using a very wrong economic development model. They are the BIGGEST HYPOCRITES, again Jesus wept!!

  9. chapunthuka says:

    Ndodo atakhala pampando. we cant develop. kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk

  10. Vyamtonda says:

    Resign man old age will not assist the country

  11. nick says:

    At last there is a donor who speaks the truth about wasted aid-money!
    If that billion dollars were to be distributed to every man and woman in Malawi individually, every year, the poor farmers would have several thousand kwacha in their pockets to spend every year. As it is, they have presidential palaces, soldiers and police-chiefs in smart uniforms, conference centres, expensive hotels, politicians in Italian suits, foreign-aid consultants, all of which are no use to any of them !
    The message is obvious: only elect leaders who have a track-record of honesty and competence. Always reject people hand-picked by the previous president because they will come to the presidency with guilty secrets to hide, guilty people to protect, and a mass of stolen assets.
    Even if APM is basically honest (as he ALMOST might be!) he has inherited an utterly corrupt government and is powerless to change it !!

  12. The Analyst says:

    Truth is simple . . .
    . . . the simple truth why Malawi is going nowhere is – we have corrupt and greedy hardcore thieves for leaders.
    If you think am lying; just look back . . .
    . . . When the ACB was denied the much needed independence, the leader-thieves were seen partying, cheering and jeering in celebration. They were even heard say, “We have defeated them.” Really? Who does that? Only the corrupt and the thieves.
    . . . When it is clear that the existing laws are inadequate to curb the corruption and thievery, hence the need to review them; the leader-thieves have no political, legal or moral will to urgently review the useless laws. As such, those caught stealing are merely given comedy of prison sentences.
    . . . The saddest part of it all, is that all this legal madness is happening when Malawi has a full professor of law for a president.
    . . . Now . . .
    Because the leaders are thieves, and have no political or moral will to end the corruption and thievery; everybody is now thieving – civil servants, in particular.
    . . . Its shouldnt come as a surprise therefore that the gap between the haves and have-nots; is getting wider, since the national resources are being looted and shared by very few greedy thieves.
    . . . But all this boils down to leadership . . .
    “Your faults as a son, is my failure as a father.” – Marcus Aurelius (The Gladiator movie).
    It’s also quite a wonder that you donors are surprised why Malawi is poorer . . .
    . . . If you have a poor mother in the village to whom you send money through an uncle who happens to be the only person with a bank a/c; and discover that the uncle has been stealing the money you send your mom; do you completely stop sending the money (in anger) or you find other means of circumventing the uncle and redirecting the money to the poor mom?
    . . . You, donors are crazy!
    The complete suspension of financial support to Malawi (due to thieving leaders) has exercabated the problems. And you come here and wonder why Malawi is poorer?
    . . . You see . . .
    “Our prime purpose in life is to help others. If you can not help them; at least do not hurt them.” – The Dalai Lama
    Trust me; you (donors) are hurting us when you feign ignorance of the fact that you are part of the problem.
    . . . You could have found other ways of reaching out to the poor other than just suspending aid.

    1. Baba wa Boyi says:

      Why should they give you money to start with? Don’t give me the “because they stole our wealth rubbish”,

      This country had tobacco which brought in a lot of wealth. people were buying “dead” cars as soon as they sell their that never moved.

      The mentality, of not going to work until the salary is finished is still there, When you get the sack, “anali wa MCP thats why amuchotsa”.
      that has nothing to do with thieving leaders.(out of job=poor)

      We are poor because of our poor reasoning, always blaming someone else for our stupidity. You are blaming donors for not finding another way of giving us their money. Why not blame ourselves for not finding another way of finding money.

      We are very quick at pointing fingers. We have a subsidy system in this country, when fuel is cheaper in Malawi than surrounding countries, what do we do, we buy in bulk and sell it to neighbouring countries, then we run out of fuel and start pointing fingers. We have no food,when donors (WFP) give us free food, we sell it, mostly cross border and then point fingers.

      Now we are even selling and killing our own relatives, and its Governments fault, never our fault. When are we going to take individual responsibility for our actions.

      We don’t even realise, that a person that steals medicine, kills more people than 5 people that kill an albino. (No insult intended to albinos), and we are up in arms demanding albino killers to be hanged and yet we give excuses for Medicine thieves, (Salandila zokwanila, akudyelani chani) and yet thousands of people die of malaria, because someone stole malaria testing kits. That is the lack of wisdom of a Malawian.

      When a politician is arrested, we always complain that the person is innocent, and has been arrested on political grounds.when they are released we complain, “we knew this government can not prosecute thieves”

      What exactly do we want?

      We are our own enemy.

      There is a small minority,which because it has access to social media believes their opinion is a majority opinion, they sit back and do nothing, and when the likes of DPP, win elections they cry foul, not realising the majority that vote do not read social media, they do not care about the communication bill, they care about freebies.

      get off your social media and go out and convince people how bad DPP is, other wise come 2019, you will be singing the same song,”Matchona this Matchona that” “Wakalamba” Nthawi ndikumatha.

      1. The Analyst says:

        If you can answere the question “Why donors have been giving aid to Malawi?” you will find answers to the question you have asked, “Why shud donors give aid to Malawi in the first place?”

        . . . I wish you were a quantitative researcher or maybe someone with an interest in the field; you would know that if you regress GDP on financial aid, controlling for consumption, Investment, govt expenditure and net exports, the variables are not only positively correlated with, but also statistically significantly impacting on each other.
        . . . Even if you were a qualitative researcher trying to test the hypothesis that aid creates dependence; you would agree (not with me but yourself, if you are an honest soul), that the problems which the presence of development aid has on a nation, are less severe than problems which the absence of development aid brings on a country.
        . . . Yes we are told that aid brings dependence, but you dont just believe whatever you hear or read. You need to think and weigh possibilities, particularly on merits and demerits of concepts.

        In short, aid is not bad per se; but how you manage it. And how has Malawi managed its aid? – thieving it!
        Let us not trouble each other by assuming you are this or that . . .
        . . . Just look at Israel. The country receives significant military aid from the U.S.
        Can you wear a right frame of mind and ask why does a rich country like Israel have to receive aid from the U.S? Noo! Every country needs aid from other countries – the only difference is the form of aid.
        . . . Now, is there any evidence that financial aid brings more questions than answers on countries; relative to other forms of aid? No! Never! Not even if you search for the answer in the Library of Congress or the British Library, which, respectively; are largest and 2nd largest libraries in the world.

        Truth – different countries have comparative advantages because of diffrences in geographical position, and resource endowment e.t.c. This creates dependence among countries; not just between the rich and poor countries, but also rich and rich countries and poor and poor countries.

  13. Kagwa says:

    The thing is this country is ruled from the tail. People who do not have the intelligence and wits are the ones ruling this country. Look at the southerners, do they have anything to offer to this country apart from increasing the numbers of the populace? Yet they are ruling us. People from the north, who are naturally born intelligent do not have the opportunity to rule this country, yet they can offer and deliver. That is the main problem facing this country. Unless we change that or the mentality, things are going to be very difficult for us until the times coming.

    1. A Kagwa, let me first and foremost correct you on one thing: leave ethnicity (tribalism and regionalism) out of the discussion because it is such things that always get us stuck in one place and not progress. I am from Mzimba district (Jombo, Enukweni on the M1 as we go towards Rumphi to be exact) and I have always seen myself as a proud Malawian. That is the first thing that needs changing according to the ‘mentality’ needed as per your comment.

      In short, we need people in power who have the guts to see what is wrong and correct it. Look up towards our neighbour Tanzania not far off. President Magufuli aka “Bulldozer” is a good example of leaders who want things done. I am sure he is making enemies as he goes along. His no nonsense style of leadership must be applauded.

      Paul Kagame in Rwanda took the country from the worst civil war to a country that is prospering 20 years down the line. Polarisation of the tribes Tutsi and Hutu was the cause of the strife and it seems they do work together now. They even have identity cards identifying every one as Rwandan as opposed to the ones that the Belgians introduced that said Tutsi or Hutu. We need as similar mentality shift as Malawians not as being Tumbuka, Chewa, Yao etc. It is possibly easier in Rwanda as they speak the same language: Kirwanda as opposed to us. But it eventually is a ‘mentality’ issue, nothing more nothing less.

      History has taught us a lot of lessons when tribalism and ethnicity come into play. Enough said.

      What we need is decisive leadership which can ‘clean out he chuff’ without fear or favour. People who go into politics to serve not to get rich. People who do not want to appease cronies. Intellectuals who have a greater good at heart and have a broader understanding of the current global world and what makes it tick. But where do we get these people from?

      Malawi has a wide diversity of intellectuals and possible leaders from all three regions – north, center, south. It is a question of finding the right people with the welfare of the whole country, not just their own, at heart. How we do that is entirely dependent upon us as a country.

      For one, let us not get side-tracked or cheated by leaders when they tell us: this and this was president so and so’s vision. No, it must be (and it is) the whole country’s vision. Without backing from the whole country (through representatives at various levels) nothing should get done unless the president ‘bulldozes’ his or her way through (which is in most cases is the case because there are no checks and balances in place). Too many ‘yes bwanas’ around. Because of this single-person vision mentality we are not getting anywhere. It must be a shared vision – that’s where the journey starts.

      Let a president rule for 5 years maximum. If there are any projects lined up, the next leader or government must continue with them if they benefit the whole country. And they should! that is if everyone else decided on them collectively as a country as opposed to the single-person in power. I see no reason to put a stop to a valid project proposal because governments have changed. But this is the one thing we hear all the time – “Give me another chance so I can finish my vision” – that is bull crap! If we work together as Malawians it would not matter who is in power after 5 years since we will all be working to achieve one goal – prosperity for the country and all.

      We could go on and on listing what Kamuzu, Bakili, Bingu and Joyce Banda may have done wrong and what the current leadership is doing wrong but that is not going to solve our problems moving forward. They may have contributed to the current status-quo but the question is – how do move on forward? That is the key to development.

      Just my thoughts. Najumphapo.

      Prosecute anyone who swindles government money (cash-gate or other) without fear or favour. Get some tame sharks into our lake (if possible) and feed these people to the sharks for all I care. Their actions kill more people than what an average shark would! Imagine thinking of becoming shark dinner when you want to steal something. Think about it that one! LOL

    2. JBand says:

      my friend, your tribe will never rule Malawi. otherwise, tell your sisters and daughters to stretch their anuses wider. this is the only innovative way you can rule Malawi. otherwise never dream of ruling malawi.

    3. Lumba says:

      That has to be one of the dumbest comment I have heard,you just proving the comment of the person above.why not unity the country instead of segregation the areas and proving yourself to be egoistical and self-centred by saying cause your form the north so you are better then south.(by the I’m from the north too)get off your ass and go do something about it instead of just saying it not my fault it those people overt there,what have you contributed to try and help bring change?as they say together we stand,divided we fall.

    4. john says:


  14. Chandamale says:

    Your Excellency Mr Woest, this country could have developed for the past 22 yrs now in multiparty democracy but nothing is happening and what is happening is to hear about thieves. Your excellency Sir, let me tell you that Malawi in 31 yrs of rule of Ngwazi Kamuzu Banda developed this country to 80%. He built good secondary schools across the country, He built universities, He constructed road net works through out the country, he built Kamuzu airport. The currency one on one with pound not dollar. He managed that economy until 1994 when he left the country leadership to Muluzi. Your Excellency, Kamuzu had good policies for agriculture there was no starvation we see today. Some of us we did not even know that kwacha devalues during Kamuzu because the prices did not change until multi party came in. So I totally agree with you. Poverty immediately started with Bakili Muluzi who messed up the country and no one correct this until we have this useless president who is going around the country tellin people about 2019 votes how can you develop. Kamuzu had supper cabinet I remember people like Watson Deleza, Late Demba, Robson Chirwa, Louise Chimango and many more. They did not take shit when it comes to managing portfolios. How the president put same tribe from same region and there children in govt. That is why your money goes into their pocket leaving Malawians poorer and poorer every day. The solution to Malawi is putting in good govt and we have them here in the country and I see them. We want a leader like Kamuzu very tough in policy making for development and employ strong Ministers on merit not party lines or region or tribe but servant managers.

    1. Phillips Chisambo says:

      its true that the country has developed in the past 2yrs,meaning from becoming better to the lowest worse of all time due to the undirected leadership president who failed in all departments imposed by his late brother. i blame the Malawi masses for voting back into power the gvt that killed many Malawians under the late Thom Webster (Bingu Mutharika) now he is smiling with his wife in the grave. hope he is burning in hell!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i cry for my beloved country ! the former Warm Heart of Africa

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