Malawi, a former British protectorate is a landlocked country that lies to the eastern part of Africa. It wears different names for different audiences. To some, it is the poorest nation in the world, others celebrate it as the warm heart of Africa, to the unexposed, it is just one of those tiny states in Africa.
The economic hardships affecting the nation has propelled high rate of unemployment, poor public service delivery, corruption and crime. The country’s GDP per capita echoes the worlds’ perception of the nation’s economic misery. The luxurious expenditure by politicians and government officials piles more misery on the dying economy and warrants thorough overhaul cleansing of bad leadership of the country.
The agro based economy has suffered serious setbacks to steer the nation back in the right direction due to poor tobacco prices. With worldwide campaign lobbying for banning the use of tobacco, the country seems clueless on the next course to help generate the needed forex. Climate change has worsened the situation by affecting the yields with poor rainfall and frequent floods. Hunger has refused to disappear and has forced the government to spend more in acquisition of maize from neighboring countries.
The energy sector has crippled and paralyzed any sign of economic growth of the nation. Frequent blackouts, that last an average of 15 hours a day, has left industries frustrated and suffocated their income generating activities. Without enough energy to support the ever increasing population, a country is destined for disaster. The solutions towards revamping the country’s energy sector seem out of touch and technocrats in the sector seem clueless in providing lasting solutions.
Gazing from all economic angles, the rate at which the Malawian vessel is sailing is worrisome. High inflation, corruption, unemployment and crime are undisputed visible indicators pushing the ship below the sea level. The image of economic hardships insinuated by the outside world can not be dismissed. International donors have jumped in to try resuscitate the economy with strings attached. The help meant for a common man ends up in the pockets of the rich and powerful. If all the aid was accounted for, Malawi would have been on the road to economic freedom. The bondage and chains of economic slavery seems to excite donors.
And again, the nation has commentators and experts on social and economic affairs. From governance to human rights advocacy, they analyse and criticize without offering solutions. They talk because they want to be noticed. The louder they get, the closer they get to good positions. The articulation of their thoughts and ideas are appealing and if implemented, a prosperous Malawi is guaranteed. Unfortunately, the intelligent words uttered are for personal glory and interests.
The country’s economic landscape has fueled the influx of Malawians living in the diaspora. The economic opportunities, life comfortability at their disposal validate their exodus to places where the grass is greener. And again, the negativity dented on Malawi has misled many to believe that not all is rosy. The beautiful nation is blessed in all aspects imaginable. The beauty of our national resources, the warmness and politeness of the people contradicts the assertion that 80% of the population live under a dollar a day. Their joy and happiness is visible through the traditional dances and communal support towards each other.
The pool of talented artists provides master piece entertainment to quench and fill the void of loneliness all year round. Entertainment organizers invite reputable international artists across the globe to perform in the country. Fan mongers, from all walks of life, spend recklessly as if the rumors of hunger are not rife in the country.
The outcry on the deterioration of the education system has been loud enough; however, the country has quality personnel in the field of medicine, engineering, education, law, carpentry, economics and prophets. The luxurious cars seen in movies loom freely around in the streets of Lilongwe, Blantyre, Mzuzu and Zomba afforded by few millionaires in town who barely feel anything in purchase of such posh cars. Kids of fortunate Malawians are getting their quality education oversees.
The country is also blessed with fertile soil. Farmers work hard to feed the nation year in and out. The opportunities that the country has supersede the challenges affecting it. Smart citizens have seized the available opportunities either to enrich themselves and exploit poor Malawians or become problem solvers for the community transformation.
Malawi is my home regardless of the challenges at hand. If given a chance, I would have been a Caribbean citizen lying down on the beautiful beaches of Kingston Jamaica. Unfortunately, the so called poorest nation in the world is my home. The challenges affecting her emanate from different factors, observers can rightly focus on the dark side but the bright side of the opportunities available must not be overlooked and ignored.
Every country faces its own drawbacks. I can easily sneak abroad and beg for dual citizenship and the green card but my Malawian blood will always flow in my veins unceasingly. The dream of a better nation is universal, songs of togetherness in the country have been sung on deaf ears. The comfortability of Malawians in the misery faced, ponders for more questions than answers. Kudos to some strong individuals who are thriving for a better Malawi through their hard work, integrity and passion in serving.
Recognizing the country’s economic sickness is the first step that affirms I am home. Its symptoms have led to the collapse of quality public service delivery, increased corruption and crime. At the same time, enormous potential is visible and it’s up to the citizens to tap and maximize it to the fullest use. The stories associated with Malawi mostly have been pathetic and unfounded at times, regardless of challenges and opportunities available, Malawi will remain my sweet home.