Former president Joyce Banda has called for the U.S. government, in light of its current foreign policy, to continue to work with African nations and the need to strengthen trade ties for their continued development.
Banda, popularly known as JB, said this as part of a public lecture she delivered at Kansas State University in the United States (US). Banda’s speech is the 177th of the Landon Lecture Series, the university’s most prestigious lecture.
According to quotes reported by a US publication, The Mercury, the former president said:“What Africa needs is trade I say this not saying shut out and don’t give aid. But if we want to make an impact, we must create sustainable employment opportunities for the 50 percent unemployed college graduates across Africa so they will not swim across the Mediterranean to go looking for opportunities in Europe.”
Banda added that there is a lot the US can learn from Africa, referring to her two-year presidency as an indication that Africa has so far done well.
“The biggest question I have is, how can the United States of America, being a democracy for more than 200 years, not elected a single female president?” she asked, to audience applause. “I don’t get it because Africa has done well.”
Through her political career, Banda served as Malawi president form 2012 to 2014, as well as the vice president, foreign minister, minister of gender and child welfare, and as a member of Malawi’s Parliament. She worked for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Bill of 2006, which supports the prevention of violence against women and girls in Malawi.
She has worked on gender equality issues and focused on education for young girls.
“I made up my mind at that age that I was going to grow up and send as many girls to school as I could,” she said.
In her speech, Banda advocated for gender equality and pointed out that U.S. government’s investment in the development of African nations has helped expand the programs that help women.
“My goal is to ensure that all of you listening today leave this auditorium that you will see it is our great task to promote gender equality and development around the world,” she said.
When Banda was a child, she said she learned one of her friends was unable to attend school because her family could not afford the $6 to keep her enrolled.
“I was 14 years old when I was aware to this type of injustice,” she said, noting 130 million girls worldwide are not in school. “Isn’t it tragic that millions of girls are not in school for no fault of their own?”
Banda has been living abroad since her People’s Party (PP) led administration lost to the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the 2014 Tripartite Elections.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :