JB calls on Malawians to reflect on their past: Draw lessons on the 50 years

President Joyce Banda called on Malawians on Wednesday to reflect on their past and draw lessons and inspirations as the country celebrates 50 years of independence. 

Banda was speaking Wednesday in Lilongwe at the National Consultative Conference organized by the High Level Development Council.

President Banda set up the Council in January this year to provide leadership in reflecting on the past 50 years of the country’s independence and guide the nation in ensuring that it achieves its development plans.

President Banda: Take stock, Malawi at 50
President Banda: Take stock, Malawi at 50

“Malawi will be celebrating a jubilee on 6th July this year, commemorating 50 years of independence. I believe this moment provides us with an opportunity to reflect on our past, draw lessons and inspiration on what the 50 years have offered us as a nation. This moment further provides us yet another opportunity to think and reflect clearly about the nation we want to become in the next 50 years,” said Banda.

She said it was important, therefore, that as a nation Malawians must come together and discuss the nation’s development opportunities and challenges so that they position themselves to redeem the times.

President Banda said Malawi was in a transition with a moment of hope and the two years she had been in power have taught her a few lessons such as making difficult decisions in the face of uncertainty as she did with devaluation of the kwacha a few days after taking over government.

“Our country was at the verge of total economic collapse but we have been able to recover from such catastrophe despite the challenges we are facing. Today, we can easily boast of more than two months’ import cover in our foreign reserves from under a week’s cover. Today, we can boast of a stable availability of foreign exchange,” she boasted.

The President observed that since independence, Malawi had drawn good development plans which, if effectively implemented, would have significantly improved its development status beyond the current level.

Malawi has implemented different strategies including the Development Policies (Devpols), Malawi Poverty Reduction Strategies Paper (MPRSP), Vision 2020, Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS), and the current Malawi Growth and Development Strategy II (MGDS II), and re-emphasized by the Economic Recovery Plan (ERP).

Banda said it was worth noting that other countries borrowed Malawi’s development plans and succeeded in their development initiatives, a move that confirms the quality of the national plans the country has developed over the years.

However, Banda said it was worrying to note that despite many good development plans and policies that Malawi has drawn and implemented, their aspirations are far from being met.

She told the gathering that despite some positive strides her government has made over the last two years, the country’s development agenda is still facing one major challenge.

“This is the missing link between the nation’s development plans and its implementation framework. The lack of momentum to drive the implementation in a balanced and focused manner whilst taking a long term view,” she said.

Banda said it was for the same reason that she decided to establish the High Level Development Council (HLDC) to provide leadership in reflecting on the past 50 years of independence and coordinate dialogue among Malawians and with the world at large in defining our destiny in the next 50 years.

“It is my hope that the council will help build the momentum to strengthen and mobilize national efforts and resources in support of development plans; promote national ownership of our development policies in all vital sectors of the economy; and ensure a balanced and focused implementation of our development plans,” she said.

The main objective of the conference, which was convened under the theme “Malawi: the Next 50 Years”, was to reflect on national development over the past five decades and begin to strategize on the next 50 years.

The council comprises members from different sectors including the academia, youth organizations, private sector, faith-based organizations and civil society.

Among others the conference was attended by Vice President, Khumbo Kachali, cabinet ministers and their deputy, Former Prime Minister of Mozambique, Madame Luisa Dias Diogo, members of the Council, leaders of various political parties and religious organizations as well as representatives of International Organizations and Development Partners.

Guests at the conference
Guests at the conference

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