Exactly one week after Scottish MPs spoke in Westminster about the distinctive model of dignified two-way partnership between Scotland and Malawi, the President of Malawi used his speech to the UN to champion a partnership approach which is inclusive across civil society.
The President said:“The well-being of the global society is more assured when we work in partnerships for development. At the same time, we achieve more within our nations with inclusion of all sectors of society.”
He spoke passionately about the “spirit of sustainable human collaboration”, about “unity among nations”, and emphasised “we achieve more when we unite and collaborate”.
He said: “…let me appeal to all member states to consider strategies and avenues of collaboration…”
We welcome this celebration of an approach to international development driven by partnership, mutual respect and understanding, and local ownership.
The President also used his speech to emphasise the need for a more positive media narrative concerning Africa, saying: “Africa is often seen as a vast continent of incomprehensible tribalism, endemic corruption, and almost intrinsic misery and violence. This is the view history has painted in the mind of the world. And this one-sided perception of Africa must end. This negative view blinds the world from seeing the potential of African people. We can only realise the potential of any people when we see them positively.”
He spoke of the need for development from within, emphasising: “No human community can take off socio-economically without empowering its people to drive their own development agenda."
He championed the need for inclusive development: reducing early marriages, increasing youth empowerment, including those with disabilities, and ending attacks on those with Albinism.
He highlighted agriculture and food security, and the Government of Malawi’s work “implementing social protection programmes in order to cushion the vulnerable segments of our population”.
The President spoke of the impact of climate change: “The suffering caused by climate change everywhere is real. The people who suffer in the tragedies are not just in figures and statistics. These are real human souls like anyone here.”
He spoke of terrorism: “Malawi stands in solidarity with the victims of terrorism across the world. We reaffirm our commitment to stand against all forms of terrorism.”. And of peace keeping: “There is no country that is too small to contribute to the peace agenda of the world. There is no continent that is too poor to be part of the global peace agenda.”
The President concluded by calling for the representation of Africa on the UN Security Council: “How can we claim to be in unity with those whom we exclude? Africa must be included!”