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Malawi should emulate Rwanda and start looking into what it has got for development and prosperity

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Western media to the annoyance of Malawians begin each reference to Malawi as one of the poorest nations on earth. A label that many of us find offensive but unfortunately it fits and as much as we would like to run away from it. Quality of life for Malawians unlike that of many African countries continues to decline.


Malawi like Rwanda is a landlocked country.  Malawi is defined by its topography of highlands split by the Great Rift Valley and enormous Lake Malawi. The lake’s southern end falls within Lake Malawi National Park – sheltering diverse wildlife from colorful fish to baboons – and its clear waters are popular for diving and boating. Peninsular Cape Maclear is known for its beach resorts



Malawi population is 16.36 million (2013) with a Life expectancy 54.72 years ?(2012),  Gross domestic product 3.705 billion USD ?(2013)and GDP per capita 226.46 USD ?(2013). Malawi’s main export is tobacco which accounts for 55% of total exports. Others include: uranium, sugar, tea and coffee. Malawi’s main export partner is the European Union (50 percent of exports). Others include: Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and United States.


Rwanda is a landlocked East African country whose green, mountainous landscape has earned it the nickname “Land of a Thousand Hills.” Its renowned Volcanoes National Park is home to mountain gorillas and golden monkeys. Bordering Congo and Uganda, the park encompasses 4,507m-tall Mt. Karisimbi and 4 other forested volcanoes. Kigali, the nation’s sprawling capital, has a vibrant restaurant and nightlife scene.


While Rwanda has a population 11.78 million (2013) with a Life expectancy 63.49 years ?(2012), Gross domestic product 7.521 billion USD ?(2013) GDP per capita 638.67 USD ?(2013).  Rwanda’s major exports are coffee, tea, tin cassiterite, Wolfframite, and pyrethrum. Coffee makes up between 50% to 80% of the total


Our Leaders since Kamuzu Banda to current President Peter Mutharika have looked for solutions to the West and now to the Far East. We have blamed our fortunes for lack of natural resources as opposed to our neighbors like Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Mozambique who have minerals such as copper, Gold and Silver.


The Malawi Population outpaces that of Rwanda by over 5 Million, yet our Gross domestic product is 3.705 billion USD ? half that of Rwanda which is 7.521 billion USD ? (2013).


Rwandan President Paul Kagame is widely credited with guiding the nation’s economic and social transformation following the devastating 1994 genocide. Rwanda has defied expectations and emerged as one of the fastest growing economies in the world, overcoming the many obstacles involved with being a small, land-locked nation in the middle of Sub-Saharan Africa.


The economy has grown by an average of nearly 8% a year since President Kagame was elected to office in 2000. The World Bank estimates annual growth will hit at least 7% in the next three years. Overall, per capita income in Rwanda has more than tripled during the past 14 years; more than one million people have moved out of poverty; infant mortality rates have been cut by two-thirds; and Rwanda has achieved nearly universal access to primary and secondary education.


Asked about the strides Kagame said the following “I started with being together and unified. The country had historically been divided and divisive politics contributed to the tragedy of 1994. So I was trying to bring people’s attention to the importance of being together as a nation, even if there is diversity in our society. We are different, we may think differently, but at the end of the day, we have to bring our energies together for the common good instead of breaking our nation apart. We’ve learned lessons from the genocide”.


So why is Malawi still split on Party, regional lines when it comes to its development and coming with solutions to help all Malawians?


“We tell people, ‘It is in your hands. There isn’t going to be a solution that is going to come from elsewhere that we shall deliver to you. It’s only going to come from within.’”, says Paul Kagame





Malawi must start with agriculture, which employs the majority of Malawians. We need to modernize agriculture like Rwanda, making it more productive so that the very large population involved in this sector gains more from it than they have in the past. Modernizing Agriculture has the potential to lift two million people out of poverty.


Malawi should introduce better seed varieties, better agriculture methods, better technology and, therefore, more productivity. Malawi Government should work hard in finding markets for what is being produced, both domestically and across borders including International Markets.


Some of the best Tea and Tobacco in the world is produced by Malawi. Malawi should make this industries more productive and beneficial to citizen. Many farmers will benefit from tea and Tobacco enhanced production.


Malawi is a beautiful country, with picturesque Mountains and a large lake. The lake’s southern end falls within Lake Malawi National Park – sheltering diverse wildlife from colorful fish to baboons.  Malawi should therefore promote high-end tourism and information and communication technology.  The tourism industry alone can employee a million people growing Gross domestic product by a billion USD.

Malawi government should create an environment that is conducive to doing business. The Government should ensure safety and security for people and their investments in the country. This alone should see a boom in investments.


The role of the Ghanaian Diaspora in national development has, in recent years, won unprecedented recognition from Ghana’s government at the highest levels. Yet Malawi all it does is pay lip service to its large Diaspora.


The Malawi Diaspora can play an important role in the economic development of the country. Beyond their well-known role as senders of remittances, The Malawi diaspora can also promote trade and foreign direct investment, create businesses and spur entrepreneurship, and transfer new knowledge and skills


If Malawi Government saw Fit to fully engage its Diaspora, It is estimated by the World Bank that they would easily add a Billion USD to the Gross National Product and employee over a million Malawians every year.


It is therefore imperative that we start looking within and what we have rather than wishing for what we do not have.


Sources: Wikipedia

Article By: Elwin Mandowa Managing Editor

Ufulu means 'Freedom' or unschackled - Ufulu is a reporter at the Maravi Post since Inception. He has a Degree in Computer Science and has reported on Technical and development issues.
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