German ambassador to Malawi Dr. Peter Woeste has said Malawi has failed to move forward economically in the past five years as compared to its neighbors.
Woeste, who is the current chairperson of the Development partners Troika, threw away all the diplomatic language and was blunt to Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe and other senior cabinet ministers at a high level Forum on Development effectiveness at Bingu International Conference Center (BICC) in Lilongwe on Wednesday, saying.donors are not happy with government policies that are partly to blame for endless poverty.
“The current policies need to be changed to meet the changing times,” he said.
He described the poverty situation in Malawi as a crisis which needs urgent attention.
“We, the donors are analysing this, we want to find out why Malawians are becoming poorer and poorer yet we are providing US$1 billion a year to reduce poverty, we want to find out what is wrong,” he said.
He said there should be policy changes and government should ensure that more investment comes into the country.
Among other things Woeste cited a sharp decline in GDP from 2014 to date and the ever increasing number of people in need of food.
According to Woeste US$ 1 billion is invested in the country from donors annually and wondered “why is the country failing to progress. We are asking ourselves why didn’t the billions of euros, dollars and pounds in more than fifty years bring results we and all Malawians have been striving for”.
Woeste also tipped government to make its priorities clear and invest in those initiatives that have the greatest development return.
On corruption, he said it is surprising that the country is still struggling to fight the vice despite President Peter Mutharika been clear that he will fight the Mal-practice.
“We are still reading about new scandals almost every day, the investigative journalism in itself is a good sign. In this regard Malawi is a fine example for press freedom. However the follow up needs to be improved, “ he said.
The German envoy also said he gets “annoyed” when donors are asked “like headmasters about what they think” after Parliament presentation of budgets – which they normally comment diplomatically to speak positives.
Taking his turn, Minister of Finance and economic planning Goodal Gondwe conceded that the country is going through tough times but said government is working hard to reverse the situation.
He said it’s time to change some policies that are no longer relevant in the current situation citing the subsidy policy.
“We need to review the Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP) because it focuses much on smallholder farmers and now we cannot only be producing for subsistence we need to sell our produce,” he said.
Gondwe said : “We will always listen to our development partners on what we should do to improve the situation, we will always listen.”
The concern by donors come at a time when ruling Democratic Progressive Party officials led by President Peter Mutharika are crisscrossing the country, telling people that life has tremendously improved in the two year rule of the party.
The high Level Forum on Develepment was called on to allow stakeholders discuss a new National Development Strategy as the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy expires this month.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :