Friday, October 30, 2009

Dr Mutharika honoured in South Africa

By Muyanga Ziba

Malawi State President Ngwazi Dr Bingu wa Mutharika said, Thursday, Southern Africa needs to change in the way of doing business as the rest of the world is now changing.

He said this in Johannesburg, South Africa, after accepting the Drivers of Change Award in the government category.

“It is only those who adapt or manage change that can survive and make a positive contribution to the world”, he said.

He said with the assistance of the agricultural targeted input subsidy programme which his government introduced four years ago, Malawi has been transformed from being a food deficit and hungry nation to a food surplus nation.

The State President said he introduced the green belt programme that aims to intensify irrigation farming to reduce extreme dependence on rain fed agriculture to ensure people have enough food the whole year.

He said because of this, Malawi has attained an annual average Gross Domestic Product growth of 7.5 percent adding that in 2008 the growth rate was at 9.7 percent.

On this note, Dr Mutharika observed that basing on Malawi experience, the challenge facing Southern Africa today is to engender fast and sustainable macro economic growth as a way of fighting poverty.

He thanked the Southern Africa Trust for the award saying it will inspire him, Malawi, and Southern Africa to forge ahead with the vision of ending poverty in the region.

Earlier former President of Tanzania, Benjamin Mkapa, advised African countries to work towards helping in the improvement of economy of their countries to ensure that people prosper.

He congratulated Dr Mutharika for the award saying other leaders should emulate what he has achieved for the people of Malawi.

According to the organizers of the event, the nomination of a sitting President is the first in the history of the Drivers of Change Award.

They said Dr. Mutharika was nominated by a civil society organization in Malawi which has historically been critical of the government’s approach to concerns about economic justice.

Among other recipients of the Award was Emmie Chanika, Executive Director of the Civil Liberties Committee, who received the award in the individual category. She was recognized for her contribution towards ensuring that more women are elected to parliament through the 50-50 campaign.

Earlier in the day the State President held talks with former President of Madagascar Marc Ravalomana. Dr Mutharika told journalists after the talks that SADC is behind the people of Madagascar to ensure that there is rule of law.

“A meeting of SADC heads of state has been organized in Ethiopia to that effect and I am optimistic very soon there will be democracy in Madagascar,” he said-Malawi Digest.

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