UN places Malawi as impoverished nation: Minister takes a spin on poorest status

The United Nation is still placing Malawi among the world´s most impoverished and vulnerable countries under the category of the least developed countries (LDCs).

Minister of Information Kondwani Nakhumwa briefing members of press - pic by Roy Nkosi

Minister of Information Kondwani Nakhumwa briefing members of press – pic by Roy Nkosi

Malawi girl eats porridge

Malawi girl eats porridge

The LCDs according to UN are a group of countries that have been classified as “least developed” in terms of their low gross national income (GNI), their weak human assets and their high degree of economic vulnerability.

The information on UN website complement an interpretation of World Bank data indicating that Malawi ranks top of poorest states in the world.

Malawi government spokesman and Information Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa has admitted that Malawi is a poor country, but not the poorest in the world, saying the media houses has failed to differentiate between Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in US$ currency with GDP per capita in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) terms.

Nankhumwa, who was flanked by Presidential Advisors on Communication and Economic Affairs, Bright Malopa and Dr. Collins Magalasi respectively, told a news conference in Lilongwe that Malawi is indeed “poor, but not the poorest.”

He said: ” We believe the media, especially business journalists have a very crucial task of interpreting data. These issues are quiet different all together, that is why am saying it is very important that as journalists we need to emphasize much on specialized writing or reporting especially in economic reporting and to that effect my ministry is undertaking to get some scholarships which are available now.”

Nankhumwa said it was imperative for the local media to critically distinguish between gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in current dollar terms and GDP per capita on purchasing power parity (PPP) basis before concluding that Malawi is poorest as reported online.

The minister said the current administration is now concentrating on implementing policies that are designed towards increasing income levels among rural dwellers and enhancing agriculture productivity per unit of land as a way of eradicating poverty.

Nankhumwa also said government is investing hugely in energy and also hopes to improve access to finance by small business operators which, he said, would see the cost of doing business in Malawi easing

Magalasi described poverty measure as a relative process which is broad. But he said overall Malawi is doing fine on education, child mortality and maternal mortality as stipulated in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The World Bank in a statement said it publishes the World Development Indicators [WDI], which among other data sources, includes statistics on GDP per capita for all countries.

“The latest WDI report is for 2014 and it presents data available in 2013,” said the statement.

The bank further said the intention of WDI is not to rank, but to provide a compilation of relevant, high-quality and internationally comparable statistics about global development and the fight against poverty.

It said the purpose of publishing GDP per capita figures is not to measure poverty but levels of income per capita.

“Comparisons of living standards across countries are best made using both monetary and non-monetary parameters such as Human Development Indicators and the Multidimensional Poverty Index,” said the statement.

The bank further said in quoting the data, the media confuse GDP per capita in current United States dollars with GDP per capita in Purchasing Power Parity.

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M'Malawi Weniweni

It is interesting to note that Malawi government and citizens alike are debating whether we are the poorest or one of the poorest. The good news is that we agree that we are poor. So why waste time debating the extent of poverty. It is like a student that has failed an exam but debates on whether his failure is better than another student that has also failed.

Concerned citizen
If we rely on other nations for 40% of our budget support, then what are we? YES Very, Very, Extremely poor. Imagine in human terms. Think of that man who cannot feed his family, pay the rent and bills, but has to rely on others to do it for him, how do you describe such a person? Our nation is exactly the same. What is so painful is that there are so many capable people, and a handful of FOOLS who confuse the whole nation. I feel as a nation we should borrow a leaf from GHANA on how they… Read more »
Kulibe kantu

Someone should tell Nankhumwa that govt is pursing very poor economic policies. Look, you are now selling Malawi selling MSB which serving rural people. Who do you think will serve the people?

All these big banks closed their branches in rural areas. Yet they are make billions per year. They do not want to invest in rural areas. Press Corporation which is a govt entity has closed so many shops. Yet government you are just phwiii and you leave Chikaonda alone.

Cashgate 1
Malawi Malawi. If we are not poor, why are we struggling to meet our National budget? If we are not poor why are our hospitals without medicine, or blankets (Kamuzu Central is full of Vizwazwa) and you are disputing. If we not poor why are teachers/nurses go unpaid for months, If we are not poor why do the majority of us live on less than 1 dollar a day, If we are not poor the list goes on and on. The best thing govt can do is accepts the story as it is. Of course it may have a few… Read more »

Media what uve by posting a foto of amalawian girl eating porridge is an acceptable just write ur stories do not mock the Poor by advertising their pain povery why dint u put ur own daughter or sisters daughter as an example this thing of imaging pple especially poor is annoying it must stop emmediately concerned malawian


I want to agree with you that putting a picture of the young girl here is inhuman. Did they ask for permission before posting her picture here? where is our good minister & CSs to look into the matter of this girl? Do these people really no that it is against laws to take & abuse someone through pictures & if found guilty one can be punished. I personally demand an apology from the one who put the picture of this little one. Why not take your grannies and put them here? tione ngati akudya masoseji? shame

max ajida

Disputing the finding that we’re the poorest nation is just a lip services. The minister would have sat down and come up with best ideas on how to take Malawi out of the poverty line. He is busy denying the truth yet we see ourselves that we’re barried in poverty pit latrine. The minister must know that this isn’t a political propaganda.


shame. our minister thinks everyone is like him. latest report says KCH a death trap. no drugs in hospitals and health centres. no piped water. power blackouts. very very bad roads even in cities kumidzi ndiye osanena. go in villages and see the type of houses there. very pathetic. and yet you nankhumwa want WB to rate you the most developed country? Kamuzu stadium shoud just be part of Malawi musium. zikuchititsa manyazi kwabasi. a Comboni better akasewelere ku Sedi Admarc ground.


Nyasatimes, you seem intent on proving beyond reasonable doubt that Malawi (your country I hope) is the poorest scum of the world. Everybody knows Malawi is a developing country, reliant on aid. It surely matters not whether we are 8th poorest or 6th poorest etc…. So what is your purpose, what’s your motive? World bank already clarified on the data, yet here you are still barking, barking, barking and barking some more…. for nothing!! Akutumani ndani agalu inu?!

Nyani wa ku Mwananyani
Nyani wa ku Mwananyani
Again, the idea of the government training journalists is a VERY bad one. Don’t go there. Their employers should train them; or as someone has already written, the media companies should hire specialist journalists, rather than someone just because he or she is vocal (against the establishment – read government). The government should not be spending our hard earned money on this. Period. The money is needed, more desperately, elsewhere, as everyone knows. I hope APM or VP Chilima dismiss this proposal as a non-priority stat. We know we are poor. And whether we are the poorest of the poor… Read more »

Hon. Nankhumwa you know very well that we are poorest in the whole world. Even Somalia is reach. We know why Mr. Minister is trying to deny this, is because DPP contributed to our poverty. DPP swallow your pride and allow the investigation of K92 billion to continue may be donors can come back. Malawians let us stand up and protest about this K92 billion investigation to start. We can’t go forward because of this useless government.

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