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Sunday, October 28, 2007

One way Africa could beat poverty

Africa is not a poor continent. Rather it is the people who are. The continent has the largest world deposits of diamonds, gold, coal, copper and manganese. It has large deposits of minerals, huge reserves of crude oil and natural gas and vast forests, fisheries and land for agriculture and cattle ranching.

Africans rank among the poorest in the world in the midst of plenty for three main reasons. First, since the early days of colonialism, there has been incessant plunder and exploitation of Africa's resources by the developed world to the detriment of economic development in Africa.

Second, there is deliberate marginalisation of Africa in global financing, foreign direct investment and access to science and technological innovation that could have created new wealth for Africa.

In other words, African resources do not create new wealth or employment in Africa because they are not processed on the continent but are shipped to the industrialised countries in raw form.

And finally, most African governments have, so far, not taken concrete action to ensure that we change globalisation system in our favour.

We have not developed home grown strategies to deal with our specific situations. In most cases, we have depended on "surrogate economists" to advise us and ended up with wrong diagnoses, wrong prescriptions and hence wrong results.

Africa must agree on economic strategies and technological innovations that are tailored to respond to the challenges of poverty alleviation and help to bridge the "technology divide" between industrialised and developing nations.

These measures must prevent the existence of extreme poverty amidst abundant wealth; hunger and malnutrition amidst food surpluses; diseases and death amidst breakthroughs in medical and health sciences; and ignorance amidst phenomenal advancements in information and communications technology.

Malawi is responding to the challenge of poverty through a variety of measures including implementing its home grown strategies and taking full ownership of its economy and desti

Written by Malawi's current President, Bingo wa Mutharika. Read the rest of it here.

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