Malawi’s former president Bakili Muluzi has expressed worry over increasing rate of poverty and unemployment among youth 54 years after independence.
Muluzi made his comment to the flagship newspaper, the Daily Times, as the difference in lifestyles between the rich and poor is so glaring that one can fairly call it a tale of two parallel countries in one.
As the country is celebrating 54 years of independence, former president Bakili Muluzi has expressed worry over rising poverty and unemployment levels.
While he said said the struggle for independence which was championed by founding president Kamuzu Banda was worth it and the country has made significant gains in the last 54 years of independence, there there is little to cheer about in terms of economic gains.
“We have made a number of gains as an independent country. We are growing and continue to grow as a nation. We are in multiparty dispensation which is also growing,” Muluzi, who governed the country from 1994 to 2004, said as quoted by the paper.
Malawi inherited a strong economy from Britain in 1964 at independence although it was heavily dependent on agriculture as one of the world’s leading tobacco producers.
Muluzi, however, said it is unfortunate that poverty levels remain high in the country and that a significant percentage of Malawians are youths who are denied access to employment opportunities.
“My concern is that the level of poverty is high. There is [a] high unemployment rate, especially among the youth, and nobody is denying it. This is what government should look into so that everybody lives with dignity and affords basic needs in life,” Muluzi said.
Governance commentators said the country is facing economic inequality and that the problem with inequality is that it will eventually lead to societal discontent.
Henry Kachaje, an economic commentator, said what is disturbing about the high levels of poverty and general deprivation among the people is that they are not a result of lack of human and natural resources or civil wars, but rather of political and economic mismanagement.
He noted that Malawi government is still borrowing heavily, sinking deeper and deeper into debt without embarking on any economic restructuring.
But government spokesman Nicholous Dausi said the State is working hard to try to diversify its economy from agriculture to tourism and mining as well as improving trade.
Dausi said the Peter Mutharika administration has embarked on several initiatives backed by the National Budget to create about 17 000 jobs for the youth.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :