By Yamikani Msukwa
Malawi’s President Joyce Banda, who is also the chairperson of Southern African Development Community (Sadc), has asked for a re commitment to global peace and security in order to make the post-2015 agenda achievable.
In her address to the General Debate of the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the Malawi leader said conflict, instability and civil unrest disrupt the world’s development efforts.
“As we look forward to the Post-2015 Agenda, we should recommit to global peace and security. As a mother, I felt compelled to make this appeal,” she said.
President Banda also urged world leaders not discard the voice of the poor, especially women and person with disabilities in the post-2015 agenda.
She said while many people have argued that the best strategy to achieve Millennium Development Goals is to realize GDP growth, putting income into poor households that must come first.
“The issues that affect population growth, malnutrition, girls’ access to education, maternal health are all rooted in poverty and particularly lack of income at the household level. If we are to overcome these challenges we need to promote policies and programmes that bring decent incomes into households.
“In this regard, my government has sought new partnerships with private sector, local communities, and development partners, to deliver development in more innovative ways.
She told the assembly that her Government is focusing on transforming rural economies and breaking the vicious cycle of underdevelopment and poverty. The Malawi Government has therefore decided to invest in improving the livelihoods of poor people in the rural and urban areas.
“This Transformation Initiative is aimed at modernizing our rural communities by bringing a standard package of interventions in health, education, water, sanitation and housing,” she said.
“If we cannot uplift the people that are in our rural areas, as is the case for many developing countries, to earn decent income in the household, the vicious cycle of population growth, malnutrition, maternal risks and poverty will remain with us. If the Post 2015 Development Agenda is to realize its dream, we need to go to the grassroots where the poor are.”
The Malawi leader said she therefore welcomed the idea that under the Post-2015 agenda, progress should be tracked against goals by looking at them across all levels of income.
“This will drive us to equality of opportunities for people across all income groups and help us realize our dream of shared prosperity. This is key to restoring the dignity of all our people,” she stressed.
“I am therefore pleased to report to this Assembly, that Malawi is registering a strong economic recovery. For instance, foreign exchange and fuel are available, the currency has stabilized, inflation is declining, and industrial production is up from 30 percent in 2012 to 75 percent in 2013.
“Economic growth is forecast at 5 percent this year up from 1.8 percent last year. Furthermore, Malawians are once again enjoying their freedoms and civil liberties as enshrined in the Constitution,” she said.
She said she believes that in Malawi and beyond, the MDGs have played an important role in concentrating efforts around the common purpose of eradicating poverty, adding that they have raised public awareness about unacceptable levels of poverty, and helped to mobilize action towards a fairer world.