10 reasons why Malawi remains one of the poorest countries in the world


In theory, Malawi is a sovereign and independent country but in practice, it is not. Its reliance on international donations and borrowing makes it a puppet to international pressure and demands.

Since its independence in 1964, many Malawians have been banking their hopes in the new presidents that they would transform Malawi for the better. Did they?

Have we laboured to ask ourselves why a small country like Malawi remains one of the poorest countries in the world? This discussion will therefore endeavour to answer such  question.

1. Lack of patriotism

It is not a responsibility of a single person to develop our country. It must be a collective effort.

For instance, a common man just goes to the polls to cast their votes for their presidential candidate. It ends there. Then they will be waiting for another cohort of general elections.

How many Malawians have exuded the audacity to hold our leaders accountable?

How many people have followed up their vote to pin down Reverend Chakwera and Dr.Saulos Chilima for mismanaging our economy?

How many whistleblowers have reported corruption incidents  to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB)?

In fact, most Malawians have become conduits of corruption in government departments such as immigration, road traffic , health, police and defence.

No one has taken to task  the Director General of ACB, Ms Martha Chizuma, for failing to address the rampant corruption in the country.

No patriotic Malawian has held the Chief Justice, Rezine Mzikamanda, for  delayed and selective justice.

Who has ever condemned the Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms. Catherine Gotani Hara for her partisan leadership in the  august House?

2. Lack of transformative leadership

It is fallacious  to conclude that there is no single competent and transformative leader out of 20 million Malawians.

The truth is that those people with leadership skills shy away from leading Malawi. In the end, we have leaders  who have no ideas and those people with ideas have no power.

It is pathetic that we vote for people who are clueless about transformative leadership.

The business-as-usual and laissez faire style of leadership is taking Malawi many steps backwards.

For instance, Dr. Lazarus Chakwera and Saulos Chilima promised Malawians that they would transform Malawi for the better. Independent ACB, reducing presidential powers and stamping out corruption were among their transformative promises.

Four years down the line, President Chakwera and his Vice Saulos Chilima are at the forefront promoting the very same vices they condemned. Whoever cursed Malawi did us a colossal injustice.

3. Politics of appeasement

In all the regimes, appeasing those who aligned with the government has been the norm.

The downside of the appeasement policy is that it compromises  the quality and efficiency of public service delivery because mediocre and underqualified people are put in positions of power.

It is very  pathetic that Tonse Alliance abandoned its own idea of conducting public interviews for crucial government  positions.

No wonder it is mindblowing to realise that there were some politicians such as Billy Mayaya, Reverend Macdonald Sembereka, Timothy Mtambo and many others who masqueraded as human rights activists but were later appeased with diplomatic positions by the current regime.

4. Politics as an investment of self-enrichment

What is funny is that many voters do not know that politics is a business investment to  some electoral candidates.

What this entails is that a voter is used like a condom that is dumped after the mission is successfully and erotically accomplished. This is why a voter remains poor while the winning candidate becomes a millionaire all of a sudden.

It is imperative that a voter must take extra care when voting candidates into power because politicians want to satisfy their abdomen first rather than assisting  the underprivileged.

5. Corruption

Have you wondered  why Malawi is losing a lot of millions of money to corruption yet we have the full ACB that is mandated to crackdown on corruption?

Are you flabbergasted that corruption has reached unprecedented level in Malawi yet Dr. Lazarus Chakwera and Vice President Saulos Chilima promised Malawians during their campaign period to stamp out  the cancerous corruption without fear or favour?

Did you know that money lost to corruption could have improved Malawi’s poor road network, dilapidated  healthcare system, unequal access to education and judicial system?

6. Tribalism and nepotism

The reality on the ground  is that the voting pattern in Malawi is generally on tribal and regional lines especially in the southern and central region where  population is on the upward trajectory.

With reference  to previous  elections, the major antagonistic major parties are the Malawi Congress  Party (MCP) and  Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) whose strongholds are from central region  and southern region respectively.

Because a political leader is mostly voted along tribal lines, a winning candidate is coerced to appease people from his tribe or region of origin. This is an unfair  state of affairs.

In a nutshell, nepotism, tribalism and cronyism derail country’s progress because mediocre Malawians take up crucial public  positions.

7. Porous government systems

One of the reasons Malawi is not making positive strides economically even after changing six presidents after the 1964 independence is that new regimes  inherit porous government systems.

This is why the business-as-usual mentality accentuated by  laissez faire style  of leadership has escalated incidents of corruption, nepotism and inefficiency  in the public sector. 

It is pathetic that most Malawians justify corruption, nepotism, regionalism and mediocrity currently  taking place just because previous regimes were replete with the same vices. Of course, two wrongs do not transform themselves  into the right one.

8. Malawi is an agro-based country which highly relies on unpredictable rains

It is unfortunate  that Malawi still relies on unpredictable rains to feed its agricultural activities.

What this entails  is that whenever there are  insufficient  rains, the whole country descends on its knees to hunger and starvation.

Fortunately,  Malawi is  endowed with  fresh water from  lake Malawi which is an asset for irrigating our  crops throughout  the year.

It is high time that Malawi embarked on  commercial and mechanised agriculture. I was challenged by one international friend as to why Malawi still sticks to a hoe as an indispensable tool  in our subsistence farming. We can do better.

9. Malawi is a predominantly importing country

Malawi will only economically frog-leap forward if it ceases to predominantly import goods and services and thereafter venture into aggressive export of finished products.

It is laughable  that Malawi drastically devalued  its local currency as part of its  economic recovery plan when it  is not a predominantly exporting country. In fact, devaluation is meant to bring more forex after exporting  the finished product.  What significant exports does Malawi have?

10. Archaic laws

Malawi laws need to be changed to align with the prevailing global dynamic happenstances.

For instance, the state President has so much power and luxuries  that he thinks he is running an estate. He can lie to Malawians willy-nilly without being taken to task.

The president, cabinet ministers and other officials can accumulate unexplained a lot of wealth without  the ACB evoking Corruption  Practices Act so as  to pin them on the sources of their sudden riches.

Members of parliament, for instance,  have taken a double role of concurrent being an employee and an employer thereby  deciding their hefty salary increase while the poor and the underprivileged are crying foul.

In conclusion, it is envisaged  that Malawi can economically make astronomical progress if all Malawians become patriotic to take leadership roles in cracking down on corruption, nepotism, tribalism and politics of appeasement.

It is the duty of every Malawian to hold our leaders accountable for their campaign promises. Malawians should  be cautious now because there are some   politicians who take politics as a self enrichment venture without considering the plight of the citizenry.

Malawi must embark on intensive massive irrigation scheme without relying on natural rains to feed its agricultural activities.

As a country, Malawi will only prosper economically if it puts in place policies that expedite the massive exportation of  finished products.

Lastly, all archaic laws that impede progress must be repealed.