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The making of the poorest country

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There have been arguments and counter arguments pertaining to Malawi’s status as the poorest of the poor, yet a country that has never been at war since gaining independence half a century ago, a country richly blessed with natural mineral resources and the human capital that earns accolades in foreign lands. This poorest of the poor country is the very same country which a few years ago was the second fastest growing economy in the world, pushed aside only by the petrol-dollars Qatar.

As usual, most blame is heaped on politics and successive governments that have ruled Malawi since independence. But can we exonerate the citizenry? Is corruption not a vice which is breaking the camel’s economy back of the country? Who bribes immigration officials to speed up passports processing? Who bribes police officers to escape over speeding fines? Who corrupts magistrates, judges and the learned men in courts? Who process documents certifying delivery of goods yet nothing is delivered? Who, exactly who, sells drugs meant for our hospitals to private clinics and who buys? If all these people, and more others, are not the makers of Malawi being the poorest country on the continent, then who else?

It is imperative to note that the government can only at best devise policies meant to foster socio-economic development. And yet, while we have all those wonderful policies in place, our behaviour and our insatiable appetite to get rich regardless of the people we are trampling on throws the very same policies into the dustbin.

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This country is blesses with highly intelligent people. Why do we have some of our companies falling year in year out? This country has wonderful engineers, leaders, strategists, why should water provision become a nightmare in a country that is one-third water? This country has distinguished academicians, renowned professors, why don’t our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes expand beyond the walls of the college to encompass distance and online training to ensure that we develop adequate human resource in order to steer the country forward?

It is amazing and certainly amazing that almost all vital sectors in the country have been and are still crumbling to date. Surprisingly, top heads in those institutions are usually busy flying to different destinations attending seminars and conferences and all we get in the end is the same ‘it was an eye opener.’ How many seminars and conferences do we need attend for us to transcend beyond the eye-opener lever and reach the implementation level pinnacle?

As a country we lack patriotism. We wind back the wheels of development every moment some initiatives are there to take us forward. As long as a project does not seem to have fat allowances and kick backs then it is doomed to fail. Greed has made us so myopic such that we do not look at the overall good of any project but how much gets siphoned into our pockets. Until when shall our minds be lost in our stomachs? Until when shall we realize that the best thing we can do is to live this our country in a better position that we found it in the time we were born?

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As a nation we also do not appreciate the very best things that we have. All the human resource we build, say in agriculture, is happy to be in white collar jobs, feeling the fresh air flowing from air conditions in their posh offices. They are not ready to go into the field, to use their knowledge to develop their own land and make Malawi a predominantly producing and exporting country. All they think is that they have to be advisers. Them that have not even a piece of land to demonstrate wonderful farming methods want to advise those whose entire lives have been farming. Up until our graduates in irrigation become large scale farmers using their irrigation knowledge, then we can talk of development. Up until our mechanical engineers run their own garages then we will appreciate them. Up until business administration graduates manage their own businesses successfully that waiting to be employed then we can develop Malawi, the list is endless.

We all seem to know what can be done to develop our motherland. The tragedy however is that we expect other people to do it for us that we ourselves taking the initiative to do what is required. Almost all people, even just walking along the streets can expound many a things that can help Malawi to do forward but unfortunately we are a nation of people that just love speeches than taking to the ground and start doing what is actually required. To make matters worse, we are even good at derailing developments which others are doing to make our country competitive on the international market.

Now is the time to stop the noise in boardrooms and corridors and hotels and start working hard to change the fortunes of our country.

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