President Peter Mutharika has said developing economies have a lot to learn from the Chinese economy taking into consideration the fact that not long ago China was a developing country on the same economic scale to countries such as Malawi.
Mutharika was speaking at the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) after he was confererred an honorary professorship for economic prudence.
‘‘Five decades ago, Malawi was ahead of China on per capita income. China was then one of the poorest countries in the world. Today, China is one of the developed countries in the world, although you insist on being modest to say you are only a developing country. China has outpaced us in economy and improvement of the quality of life of her people,’’ said Mutharika.
Mutharika said the achievement China has registered is worth emulating.
‘‘China’s [Economic] history is a great lesson to Africa. It is an inspiring story that tells us that it is possible for an Africa country to move from poverty to prosperity.’’ Mutharika emphasised.
President Mutharika said African countries need to do an honest self-evaluation to understand why people of the continent are poor while the continent is the richest in resources.
‘‘Our poverty is a result of the choices we made over the last few decades,’’ Mutharika added.
Mutharika said Malawi has made a choice to walk from poverty to prosperity.
“It is not an easy walk. But we have chosen to walk that path,” he said.
Continued Mutharika: “We have chosen to believe that we can achieve greatness out of the little we have. We have chosen to begin our journey with what we have as a country. The last four years I have led my country have been a great lesson to us. We have learnt that we can make a great country out of a vast crisis. And there are times when great nations are forged out of crises.”
Mutharika said “every crisis is an opportunity to make a difference”, saying for Malawi, the years of national crises taught the country to be resilient, to work hard and depend on the little it has.
“I came to lead Malawi in May 2014. The country was on the brink of economic collapse. We had just suffered the worst plunder of public funds ever known in modern history. This national plunder was called Cashgate. This was a state-sanctioned scheme by the [Joyce Banda] administration which I took over from,” said Mutharika.
Mutharika said donors withdrew support for national budget but pointed out that with his economic prudence and reforms many cooperating parthner have not returned with budgetary support.
“We inherited a deficit that almost equalled our national budget at the time. We were technically bankrupt. Everyone thought the country was going to collapse. Most people lost hope – and you could see it in their eyes.
“We began with a man-made economic disaster. Then the natural disasters followed.”
He said when Malawi economic situation was tough, when suffering was real, and pain felt; “ we chose to be a resilient nation. We chose determination and not fear.”
The Malawi leader said when donors stopped budgetary aid, his administration did not choose to go begging.
“We chose to cut spending and enforce austerity measures to save the little we had. We recovered our economy out of a crisis and without donor budget support. All our macroeconomic indicators speak of a rising economy of Africa,” he pointed out.
Mutharika confidently pledged to take the people from poverty to prosperity: “ China made it. Israeli made it in the desert. Many more have done it. We believe we can do it! And we will do it!”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :