Minister Mtambo says economic inequalities, poverty undermining peace efforts in Africa

Minister of National Unity Timothy Pagonachi Simbega Mtambo has highlighted growing economic inequalities, poverty and lack of meaningful socialization as barriers to continental efforts to promote and enhance peace and security in Africa.

Mtambo made the sentiments in his keynote address at the virtual African Youth Assembly last Friday. The assembly was organized by the International Association of Youth and Students for Peace.

Mtambo said just like any other African country and beyond, Malawi is also grappling with diverse challenges regarding conflict and security.

Unity Minister Timothy Mtambo

He, however, commended the leadership of President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera for creating a full Ministry of National Unity whose mandate includes the promotion of peaceful co-existence of people of different backgrounds.

“Amongst other things, this ministry is mandated to initiate a healthy dialogue between and amongst various conflicting parties and situations in order to deflate tensions before they escalate into serious widespread violence. By highlighting the above, this does not mean that as a country, we have got everything right when it comes to peace and security. Like others in Africa and beyond, we are also grappling with diverse challenges regarding conflict and security,” he said.

“These challenges include growing economic inequalities, poverty, lack of meaningful socialization of key populations especially the youth and women, political rivalries, tribal egos and socio-cultural influences. All of them continue to pose serious challenges to peace and security,” added Mtambo.

At this point, the minister challenged young people to spearhead the fight for peace and security in the region, stressing that youths are important and critical actors in peacebuilding efforts.

The said youths have always demonstrated their optimism and motivation in leading positive changes in their societies by amongst other things, participating in youth-led and youth-oriented organizations; hence, the need to give them space in the continent’s pursuit for peace and security.

“Young people ought to be given the space where they need to play an important role in addressing peace and security across Africa. It is, therefore, critical that we encourage young people to engage in the transformation of issues in their communities, and equipping them with the necessary competencies to become agents of peace and work to challenge violence and transform their communities.

“To that effect, under the visionary leadership of our President, His Excellency Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, the Ministry for National Unity is currently in the process of developing a National Action Plan (NAP) that is largely informed by the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2250, which also draws further inspiration from regional mechanisms and resolutions. This effort has included various stakeholders amongst them the National Youth Council, Youth Civil Society, the Malawi Police Service, the Malawi Defence Forces and their respective parent Ministries,” said Mtambo.

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