Lazarus Chakwera talks tough on aid with conditions


By Cathy Maulidi:

President Lazarus Chakwera Friday spoke tough against donor aid which comes into the country with some bad strings attached.

Chakwera was speaking during official launch of the Lilongwe Institute of Orthopedics and Neurosurgery (Lion) which has been constructed with support from the Norwegian government and family of a Norwegian philanthropist Trond Mohn and their partner Asta Otteren Ellingsen.


Speaking during the launch, Chakwera thanked the philanthropist Mohn and his family partner Ellingsen for providing support of over $20 million to Lion without any strings attached.

“This is rare in today’s world. Here in Africa, it is common practice for donors from other nations to impose on us acts of charity that we did not ask for, or to announce to the world their donations to us for their own clout, or to publicise the amounts they have poured into our countries without any public accountability on how the money is spent.

“Then there is the fact that some donor aid comes as a Trojan horse with strings attached, to be used either as an instrument for coercing us into compliance with things that are not a developmental priority for a nation as young and vulnerable as ours,” Chakwera said.


He added that some donors are using aid as a key for entering country’s borders to gain access to natural resources and in the end this compromises national security and sovereignty.

According to Chakwera, Malawi is also used to donor aid that is channeled to things that are not sustainable, with an aim to deepen the cycle of dependency on foreign aid.

“I know that these are not popular things to say, but if we are to become a self-reliant and inclusively wealth nation then these are the inconvenient truths we must confront,” Chakwera added.

Also speaking at the function, Minister of Heath Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda thanked the Norwegian government and the philanthropist Trond Mohn and his family partner Ellingsen for the support.

“The Norwegian government through Health Services Joint Fund contributed over $5.3 million to the project while the Mr Mohn and his family partner Ellingsen contributed $20 million, this is huge support and I urge all Malawians to take care of this facility. It is here to help us,” Chiponda said.

Norwegian Ambassador Ingrid Mikelsen also called on Malawi government to take care of the hospital saying for the facility to remain operational for many years, it requires committed maintenance and upkeep.

“I also hope that the LION Trust will be able to continue operating independently and effectively, providing world class medical services to the people of Malawi,” she said.

According to authorities, the project started in 2012.

People who cannot afford expensive specialised bone and nerve surgeries will be accessing such services at the hospital and those who can afford to pay for the services will be attended to in another section at the same hospital.

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