With Lorraine Lusinje:
Malawi is on the move.
Entrepreneurship has taken a new face in the country after being championed by the government, motivational speakers and other national figures. More and more people now look at making money through various ventures other than searching formal employment, and this has contributed to the rise in developments and projects on the country’s landscape. Small and medium enterprises are sprouting and blossoming. It is a whole new era all together.
Malawi is definitely expanding and developing. When you visit the three major cities, Mzuzu, Lilongwe and Blantyre, all you see are new developments. New complexes are coming up; people are building more and more houses; national treasures like Bingu National Stadium (BNS) and the like are also adding weight to the country and we also have a high number of vehicles in our cities.
Areas that were once considered outskirts are now coming up and many projects are taking place in these areas. Property acquisition and development have become a busy avenue now. Every time one visits the cities after a few months, the changes and developments are vivid. On everyday basis, there is a higher demand for goods that were once goods people rarely looked for; hardware shops are now a daily high demand business
But, as much we have these developments, we also seem to have too many contradictions to these developments.
I will start with our M1, it could be so much better. This can be considered the most important and most used road in the country, but its condition is appalling. And if this can be said about a road with such significance, your guess is good as mine on the condition of the other roads across the country. We talk about promoting tourism but most roads to our ‘exotic’ tourist destinations are a mess.
Most people that are expanding the cities and developing properties and projects face the same predicament; accessibility is a nightmare. There are many areas in the country where people have now built nice houses and relevant amenities but the roads are a nightmare they are forced to face every day. We need to improve the road networks and the condition of the roads to match the developments that are springing around them.
Then we have old structures in the city that are deteriorating and have not been maintained for years. This makes cities look like a beautiful lady coming from a fresh bath, wearing expensive perfume only to dress up in tattered clothes. It does not balance at all. It is like taking five steps forward only to take 10 steps back. We can do better at maintaining our cities and creating an environment where development flourishes. We can do better at maintaining national heritage and national treasures.
It has already become evident that Bingu National Stadium has been a target for vandals and people who simply do not appreciate good things. It is important that the authorities at the stadium remain vigilant in keeping security tight and maintaining the condition of the stadium; it will be a shame years from now to see the beautiful work of art lose its charm and become another Kamuzu Stadium.
Developments in the digital sector are also being negatively impacted by systems that are not rising to meet new innovations. Electricity is a problem. Network is erratic. Customer service is a mess. Time management is a hassle. So, instead, you find that online and mobile transactions for ever meet glitches that cause headaches instead of making life easier for the people involved. New services are still using old systems and this is defeating the whole purpose. We need to be dedicated and match what we are trying to achieve with the actual situation on the ground.
Malawi is a beautiful country that has a lot to offer. But a lot to offer comes with effort and discipline. A lot to offer comes with recognising the value the country holds and capitalising on the things that will foster the growth and development of the country. Let us strike a balance between where we were before and where we want to be.
Let us innovate. Let us build. Let us refurbish Malawi.
I rest my case.