One of the country’s economic analysts has faulted Malawi’s weak representation at the just ended African Development Bank (AfDB) annual meetings in Lusaka.
The meetings which debated crucial issues such as energy and climate change attracted African Presidents such as Uhuru Kenyata of Kenya, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Idriss Deby of Chad, Edgar Lungu of Zambia as well as prime ministers and ministers from other countries.
Ironically, Malawi was represented at the annual meetings by director of development in the Ministry of Finance Peter Simbani.
In an interview last week, Harare-based African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (Afrodad) executive director Fanuel Bokosi said it is high time Malawi got serious with such meetings.
Bokosi said, at the time Malawi is feeling the adverse impact of climate change with about eight million people expected to be hungry this year, Malawi could not afford to have a poor show at meetings discussing such important issues.
He said, issues of developing the country’s energy sector should have been given the necessary attention given the current situation where over 90 percent of the population does not have access to electricity.
“Honestly, I am very disappointed with our representation at these meetings. Look at our friends they have brought their presidents, prime ministers and ministers. But look at Malawi; not even a PS.
“These meetings are very important as they are discussing challenges that African countries are facing as well as coming up with solutions. We need key decision makers in such meetings,” said Bokosi.
In his closing address, AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina said the presence of African presidents at the meetings was a sign that countries are taking issues of the bank seriously.
“It was an honour to have African presidents at this year’s meetings. They were here because the issues debated were very crucial for African development,” said Adesina.
Among other things, during the meetings, influential world leaders and senior business executives have endorsed Adesina’s ‘New Deal on Energy’, a vehicle through which the AfDB will invest in delivering electricity for all Africans, by 2025.
The world leaders included Olusegun Obasanjo, former President, Federal Republic of Nigeria; Horst Koehler, former President of Germany; Nick Hurd, Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for International Development, United Kingdom; Carlos Lopes, the United Nations Under Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa; as well as Jay Ireland, the President and Chief Executive Officer of General Electric Africa.
The leaders pointed out that the New Deal on Energy would provide the much-needed coordination of investment into the energy sector on the continent to facilitate implementation.
There was also consensus that Africa has what it takes to achieve universal access to energy services while reducing the carbon intensity of its growth, hence reducing its contributions to global carbon dioxide emissions.
Off-grid connections were identified as key to scaling up energy access to the rural power in the short term.