President Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera on Monday received rare applause from delegates when he made a passionate plea to African leaders to include youth and women in development agenda if the continent is to have accelerated development.
Chakwera was speaking on Monday in Accra, Ghana during a panel discussion titled Delivering the Vision: The benefits of strong continental financial institutions.
Answering a question on how and where innovation could be used to influence national investment rules, he said as a start to the development of the region, there is need for governments to encourage inter trading especially amongst youths and women who are usually on the forefront.
“Trading amongst ourselves, which needs to be encouraged, is usually done by young people and women. As such those of us in authority need to give them the latitude to be able to do that freely,” he said.
He emphasised on the need for governments to invest a lot in development of skills for women and youths and promote brain swaps between countries where youths with skills that are not available or are in short supply in one country should freely exchange to work in countries without those skills.
“We have seen young people that are so innovative in our universities and have patented their innovations and creations. You will see these young people idle at home yet governments are complaining that their countries are not developing.
“These are the things we need to invest on in order to create more wealth. The more prosperity we create, the more liberty we will have for ourselves,” Chakwera said.
The President, therefore, called on countries that have capacity on the continent not to leave the least developed countries behind but deliberately bring them closer in order to ensure that the continent is developing at the same pace.
Ghana President, Nana Akufo-Addo called on African governments and the African Union (AU) to support African institutions saying developing such institutions will see the continent developing at a fast rate.
“Unless we have strong financial institutions we are not going to develop. Relying on foreign capital placed Africa at the bottom of the ladder,” he said.
He, therefore, called on countries who are yet to become members or participate in African institutions like AfreximBank to do so.
Meanwhile, Afrexim Bank President and Chairman of Board of Directors Benedict Oramah has reiterated the bank’s commitment to continue assisting in the development of Malawi.
Oramah said the bank will continue to support the development aspiration of the country.
“Malawi and Afrexim share a long term partnership with Malawi being one of the founding shareholders and participants of the bank.
“So over the years we have had a good relationship with the bank supporting the country in many ways.
“Right now there are transformative projects and as a bank we are helping in developing two industrial parks one in Lilongwe, the other one in Blantyre.
“We have done all the studies and now we are about to commence works, this is one of the things we discussed,” he said.
Oramah said these projects will be starting soon, following President Chakwera’s directive to make the projects come to light very quickly so that they create jobs, and exports thereby helping in stabilising the country’s economy.
He added that the bank will also assist the country in searching for investors who will help in the development of mega farms which are one of President Chakwera’s flagship programmes.
“We are also working on mega farms projects which are initiatives of government of Malawi. We are working with government to bring in investors to develop the large farms towards achieving food security in the country but also supplying the regional markets,” he added.
Minister of Agriculture Sam Kawale said all is set for the rolling out of the farms following the bank’s commitment to finance the programme.