By Karen Msiska
Japanese Ambassador to Malawi Motoyoshi Noro says President Bingu wa Mutharika deserves recognition including considering him for a Nobel Prize as an acknowledgement of his achievements.
Noro says Mutharika has demonstrated that Malawi can transform from a dire state to one that provides the needed services.
He said this during Toyota Malawi’s official opening of its Mzuzu Branch on Saturday.
“Hastings Kamuzu Banda was christened the Father and Founder of the Malawi nation, Bingu wa Mutharika is the father of development in the country,” said Noro in a speech that was never short of humour.
“The talking point has been food security, the turning point for Malawi’s food security situation was undoubtedly the introduction of the input subsidy programme.”
He acknowledged that Malawi increased maize production to three million tones after introducing the programme and has kept it there for four consecutive years “because of the policy.”
The input subsidy programme, first implemented in 2005 and against wishes of the donor community, has been hailed the world over as Malawi’s turning point as regards food security.
The United Nations (UN) has also urged developing countries on a number of occasions to emulate Malawi’s example and turn around their own fortunes on food reliability.
“In the words of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) this really is the Malawi miracle,” he added.
“It is also encouraging to note that because of the subsidy programme, Malawi’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) rate has been above 8 percent compared to the 2.1 percent prior to the implement of the programme.
Noro extended his applause to the country’s economic growth of 9.7 percent in 2008 “which is said to be the second fastest growth rate in the world,” and for the inflation rate which has continued to remain under a single digit.
He also hailed Toyota Malawi’s Managing Director Rosemary Mkandawire for displaying that she was a good manager after noting that she was the only local managing director in seven African distributors entirely owned by Toyota Tsusho, Toyota Malawi’s parent company.
“This speaks volumes of Ms Rosemary Mkandawire. She is a force to reckoned with and that she is an excellent manager,” said Noro.
“I also rejoice for Ms Mkandawire for the fact that besides being the only local director, she is a female director in a male dominated industry. For me, Ms Mkanadawire is an epitome of the women empowerment.”
Meanwhile, Noro pledged that Japan would continue to assist Malawi’s socio-economic development through its Official Development Assistance (ODA), a gesture the country has extended since 1971.
Japan funded the upgrading of the Masauko Chipembere Highway in Blantyre and will fund construction works on the South Rukuru Bridge in Rumphi, but Noro also revealed that his country will also fund the rehabilitation of Sena railway project “to support road, railway, embankment and river basin management.”
Toyota Tsusho has 23 distribution outlets across Africa-The Daily Times.