President Peter Mutharika has signed three financial agreements worth 185 million euro (around K150 billion) after holding high-profile bilateral meetings and speaking at the European Development Day’s meeting in Brussels, Belgium.
The three financial agreements are 100 million euro for Kulima Project, 70 million euro for nutrition and 15 million euro for supporting the National Authorising Office at the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development.
Mutharika was invited by Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission to participate at the opening of a 2-day European Development Days forum which started Wednesday.
The European Development Days (EDD) is Europe’s leading forum on international cooperation and development.
‘Africa viewed negatively’
Mutharika told the policymakers that Africa has always been viewed from a negative point of view, but the reality was that the continent was not poor as it has resources, albeit poverty among its people.
“What we need is a skilled labour force to turn our assets into capital. Although its people are mostly poor, Africa has a lot of resources. Sadly however, part of African poverty is created by global structural imbalances,” said Mutharika.
He urged the European Union to invest in the human capital, if Africa was to develop.
“The case of Africa is very telling. It is important for us to invest in the human capital because much of the African situation results from lack of certain skills and the way we think,” said Mutharika.
Mutharika also said that although the Sub-Saharan Africa receives about 134 billion dollars each year in loans and development aid, it was depressing that about 192 billion dollars is taken out from the region back to the donors through tax evasion, climate change mitigation, and the flight of profits.
“The problem is not that aid is a bad thing. We are not out to demonise financial aid. We know that the Europe we see and admire today is also a consequence of financial aid, delivered under the Marshall Plan. So, it means we can have better aid, which would support our trade and sustainable development. And we thank European Institutions for providing more than 32 percent of all official aid to Africa, with Malawi getting about 2 percent of the European support.”
Economic growth and unemployment
The President pointed out that the challenges facing Africa are bound to haunt Europe “sooner than ever. ”
He said: “The fortunes of Africa are bound to benefit European people and vice versa. Poverty and unemployment in Africa become a migration problem in Europe. This is a problem nearly every European leader has to contend with.
“While you worry about migration, Africa is worried about Youth Unemployment. And here is the correlation. Age is one of the factors that influence migration. Except where there is conflict, it is the Youth who are often driven by the desire to find a better place for themselves in the world.
“Thus, both African and European leaders hold the responsibility to create conditions for economic growth and development in Africa and the world. An economically strong Africa stands to benefit both African and European people.”
During his speech, President Mutharika said although Malawi has set the stage for growth, but it needed the kind of economic growth in which everyone grows, particularly youth and women.
“But we need the kind of economic growth in which everyone grows, particularly youth and women. Investing in women and youth is necessary for inclusive development. As a country, we are ensuring that our vulnerable people, Youth and Women are part of the development agenda,” said Mutharika.
Investing in youth
Mutharika talked of the need to focus on investing in the Youth as a human capital.
“We need skills that enable them to become productive members of their societies. This means we also need a paradigm shift in the education systems in most parts of the developing world. We can no longer educate the Youth with a mindset to be employed by someone,” he said.
The Malawi leader shared with the policymakers a story he said he has told Malawians before.
“This is a story about three people. Their names were Everyone, Someone and Noone. Everyone wanted Someone to employ them; Everyone forgot that there is Noone called Someone; In the end, Noone employed Everyone,” he said.
Mutharika continued: “ To avoid the scenario in this story, we have as a country engaged in a comprehensive skills development programme. We are building community technical colleges across the country in order to equip the Youth with employable and employing skills. This is also one way of creating a skilled labour force that must support the investors who are flocking to Malawi. This is what I would want to see in Africa and the rest of the developing world.”
The President said unless the unemployment problem of the Youth is dealt with, some problems of the developing world will continue to haunt Europe.
“This task is our mutual responsibility,” he said.
Organized since 2006, EDD 2017 promotes a new global strategy to address the most pressing global challenges and bring together development actors committed to tackling poverty worldwide with a particular emphasis on engaging the private sector as a partner in economic development.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :