Pages

Monday, 22 October 2012

NO AFRICAN PRESIDENT DESERVED TO WIN THE US$5m LEADERSHIP PRIZE FOR 2012: MO IBRAHIM FOUNDATION PANEL !!WHY?


NO AFRICAN PRESIDENT DESERVED TO WIN THE US$5m LEADERSHIP PRIZE FOR 2012: MO IBRAHIM FOUNDATION PANEL




I tend to disagree with the decision made by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation panel that no African president deserved to win the coveted $5m worth leadership prize in 2012. entirely. The prize should have been given to the new President of Malawi Joyce Banda, in recognition firstly, to the people of Malawi in being selfless and allowing a smooth power transition following the untimely death of the incumbent, Bingu wa Mutharika. 


Secondly, the new President has stirred Malawi towards a new path that is redefining a new era and governance ethos based own reconnecting with the generality of the Malawian people and the regaining the confidence and support of Multi-lateral Institutions including the global communit. She has reformed structures of governance which has attracted confidence of the International Institutions and created a conducive environment to attract foreign investment and development assistance. In May this year Britain pledged £23m to help stabilise the Malawian economy and £10m for the country's health system and bi-laterally negotiated and persuaded Zimbabwe to repay in kind, a long outstanding debt of US$17m.

The zero tolerance to corruption and opulent life-style for Politicians and Senior figures has set Malawi on a path deserving this leadership prize. Joyce Banda introduced a controversial decision to either sell or lease the impoverished country's £8.4m presidential jet and fleet of 60 Mercedes government cars and instead apply the proceeds from the sale towards provision of basic services to Malawi's poorest in urgent need of relief following massive devaluation of the Malawian Kwacha by one third on the advice of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The measures were necessary to cushion Malawi from the effects of wild-cat public sector strikes due to poor salaries and conditions of service including student demostrations. She has managed to stabilise constitutional crisis in Parliament following a charade of defections between the Democratic People's Party (DPP) and the People's Party (PP) which she formed in 2009 when she was expelled from the DPP. 

Malawi, one of the world’s poorest countries, has faced growing macroeconomic management challenges for several years. In 2010, Malawi secured an Extended Credit Facility (ECF) from the IMF and the government adjusted fiscal and economic policy accordingly, but was unable to meet the IMF targets set at end-December 2010 and June 2011. Further measures taken failed to remedy the failings and donor countries suspended budget support. 

In 2012, under Joyce Banda's direction, the new administration moved swiftly to devalue the kwacha, adopt a flexible exchange rate regime and liberalize current account transactions to address the country's chronic balance of payment problems and improve the outlook for poverty reduction and growth, leading to the approval in June 2012, of a new three-year IMF funding support under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) amounting to about US$ 156.2 million. This funding is boosting real GDP growth from 4.3 percent in 2012 to at least 6½ percent per year from 2015.This will lead to the scaling up of social protection programs to mitigate the adverse impact of adjustment measures on the most vulnerable segments of the Malawian people.

In conclusion, given the optimistic global economic climate resulting from the global financial crisis and the challenges of its effects in the Eurozone, the dramatic about turn in Malawi and pace of economic reforms cannot go unnoticed, I rest my case...hear hear hear!!!!! 

Josh Chigwangwa is an Independent Researcher and holds a BA (Hons) Admin degree from Hertfordshire University, a Public Sector Accounting Diploma from Harare Polytechnic College and more than 10 yrs Public Sector experience in Zimbabwe. Contactable on jmchigwangwa@hotmail.com