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Malawi’s poverty baffles EU

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Malawi’s S continued poverty levels and lack of visible development has baffled the European Union (EU) which says all the neighbouring countries are developing much faster except this country which is not only the least developed but also stagnant.

Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation, Lluis Navaro, was speaking at the opening of a National Planning and Training Workshop for the National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Trust officers in Lilongwe on Saturday.

Navaro said even the countries that have no natural resources such as Rwanda and all Malawi’s neighbouring countries are moving forward.

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He said it is difficult to understand how Malawi is trapped in poverty despite massive external support through different programmes and projects.

“It’s difficult to understand. We’ve been discussing this as development partners. You have a lot of resources like the fresh water, how is it possible that the country cannot move forward?” wondered Navaro.

“If you look around in the other countries things are moving forward except Malawi. You’re not addressing the real issues,” he said, adding that the GDP per capita captured by different reports shows how poor Malawi is.

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The World Bank data shows Malawi has the least GDP per capita in the world at US$253 as of 2014 with the graph showing a decline from 2010’s US$359.6.

The second least among the neighbouring countries is Mozambique at US$619, Zimbabwe at US$935.9, Tanzania at US$998.1 and Zambia at US$1 801, with all countries registering rising graphs except Malawi.

GDP per capita is the share of every citizen after dividing the total wealth of a country by the estimated population and Malawi’s total wealth, according to World Bank, is US$4.258 billion against a population of 16.83 million.

Navaro has since called on Nice to empower the general citizenly to be able to stand up against any governance issues and abuse of resources, saying this is key to control any leadership to do what is in the best interest of the country.

He, however, said it is a long process to change people’s mindset.

Nice Deputy Board Chairperson Orison Chaponda said the organisation’s new vision is to make Malawi a well-informed, empowered, responsive and transformed society that actively participates in public life.

“The board would, therefore, like to see Malawians being able to mobilise themselves for action against irresponsible leadership whose conduct is contrary to the principles of transparency and accountability at all levels,” said Chaponda.

Nice Executive Director, Ollen Mwalubunju, said his organisation will be strategising to change focus from the traditional civic education role to empower the citizen in line with the new strategic plan which also intends to diversify its income base as it currently relies on EU as the main donor and government.

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