Malawi, just like the rest of Africa is not poor, President Professor Peter Mutharika told his audience to his address to the Oxford Union in England on Friday.
“Every year, Sub-Sahara Africa alone receives about $134 billion in loans and development aid. But, $192 billion is taken out back to developed countries. We have the resources, but what we lack are the skills for turning our assets into capital. That is the knowledge and skills that we need,” said Mutharika.
He said for Africa to develop it needs need an education system that empowers the majority of the people beyond the classroom. We need to take education to the community. Much of education in Africa has been the creation of an elite class that almost echoes the idea of Lord Thomas Macaulay in 1835.
“The category of the majority has three dimensions. We have the women who constitute nearly half the population. There is no vehicle that can move with half of its tyres not functioning. I am proud to say that I have appointed a lot of women into key decision-making positions. There is no point in educating women when you cannot give them key decision-making positions. Besides, we have also intensified investing in the education of the girl child as a means for achieving sustainable empowerment of women.,” said the Malawi Leader.
He gave the second dimension of the majority as the continents Youth. I
“In Africa, about sixty percent of the population is the Youth under the age of 35. We have a similar situation in Asia. It is the same case in Malawi. I believe a time has come that any development planning must focus on investing in the Youth as a human capital. I am thinking about how to fast-track progress in the developing countries,” argued Mutharika.
He said Malawi has introduced a called skills development programme for its Youth which among others is building community colleges across the country with practical curriculum that focuses on vocational and entrepreneurial skills.
“In so doing, we are creating a human engine for industrialization for us to move Malawi from a predominantly importing and consuming nation to a producing and exporting nation. We are creating a skilled labour force for such a movement.
“These community colleges are targeting the third dimension of the majority. Because our education system has been elitist since colonialism, there are a lot of Malawians stuck without skills between the secondary school and the university. This is the majority that finishes secondary education but cannot get into the university,” said the President.
He said nations can develop by developing a skilled labour force. He said empowering communities, empowering women and empowering the Youth was one of the fast tracks to development.
Students from Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mozambique engaged President Mutharika on the subcontinents prospects for integration which they argued could increase competitiveness of the region in a globalized world.
Mutharika said SADC, COMESA and the East African Community were creating a multibillion dollar free trade area, that will create a market worth over 82 billion dollars that can revolutionalise the member states economies.
On brain drain and diaspora, the President told his audience that a comprehensive diaspora programme is being developed that will accommodate those with short term and long term opportunities for those who want to support their nations.
“We realise many have stayed outside and made their lives, let them have short term opportunities that exists and help their own countries. Those that want to return should have it easy also,” said the President.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :