After working in Malawi for almost two years, Indian High Commissioner Suresh Kumar Menon leaves the southern African nation at the end of his tour of duty. Nyasa Times reporter Christopher Chattaika engaged him in an exclusive interview to appreciate what he will take with him back home as memorable moments.
Nyasa Times: You have now finished your term here in Malawi are you leaving a
Menon: It is indeed true that my term of office has come to an end. I will be leaving this month end but I must hasten to say that I have enjoyed my every moment of service and interaction here. Malawians are very friendly, always smiling and hardworking people and I will miss them very much.
Nyasa Times:What is it that Malawi can learn from India?
Menon:There is a lot that Malawi can learn from India. As a country we have been a republic for almost 70 years after adopting our constitution. We got our independence in 1947 but during the first 25 years after adopting our constitution we mainly focused on agriculture.We started what we called the ‘green revolution’ so that food security is ensured and India becomes self sufficient in food.
Later we shifted our focus to sectors such as health, education, transport and energy.By 1980’s we shifted our focus to telecommunication. In the 1990’s we took a watershed decision where government slowly started withdrawing its roles in state owned companies and empowering the private sector.
We realized that as government we cannot continue running businesses and we decided to give the private sector more powers in the health sector, energy, transport and even tertiary education. Government is still fully involved in primary education because it is crucial.
Nyasa Times: India currently has a well developed IT industry how has that been achieved.
Menon: It is true that we are one of the countries in the world where IT has made a huge difference. Government in 2000 realized that IT can change lives of millions of people and efforts were made to grow this sector fast. For the past twenty years the ICT sector has boomed to the extent that the country realizes close to $150 billion per year in ICT exports.
Nyasa Times: There are several projects that you initiated during your tenure of office can you mention some and how they have changed lives of Malawians?
Menon: That’s for sure. Many projects we initiated have made a difference in the lives of the people. We have a business incubation center in Mponela, the Blantyre Water project , the Salima Sugar Company and the fuel storage tanks. Apart from these projects we also carried out artificial limb fitment camp at Kamuzu Central Hospital where over a five hundred Malawians received 551 artificial limbs.
This project will live long in my mind, because these are people who never thought in their wildest dream that they can ever walk.
Nyasa Times: We also understand that your government will help Malawi acquire
high tech equipment for the cancer treatment center, can you elaborate?
Menon: That is very true. In fact officials from the company supposed to bring the equipment are here. This pledge was made by our Vice President who visited the country recently. These machines can help Malawi become a cancer treatment hub in the region because on a day about 70to 80 people can be treated. On top of that government will also be saving its hard earned resources because it will no longer be sending patients to India for specialist treatment.
Nyasa Times: Finally do you believe Malawi is heading in the right direction as
Menon: Malawi is on a sound footing because it has all the necessary resources to become a middle Income Country. I can predict that in the next ten to fifteen years this country will not be the same. Look the people are hardworking, the soils are very fertile and water resources are also abundant. If all these can be put in good use I see Malawi developing in leaps and bounds.
Nyasa Times: Any final words?
Menon: I have enjoyed my stay here in Malawi and despite the fact that I am leaving I will once in a while come back to visit.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :