PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has challenged African countries to effectively innovate and transform their economies by opening up modern and higher technologically advanced factories in the production and export sectors.
And Malawian President Arthur Peter Mutharika has called on the people to change their attitude towards development in the country if the fight against poverty and hunger was to be effective.
Speaking yesterday when he joined thousands of Malawians in commemorating that country’s 51st independence anniversary at the Kamuzu Stadium in the commercial capital Blantyre, President Lungu noted that while many African countries had achieved political independence, the continent had not yet fully realized her economic emancipation.
Malawi’s independence was celebrated under the theme “Towards economic transformation in Malawi for Inclusive Development”.
“Whilst many of our countries have achieved political independence, we are yet to fully realize our economic emancipation. Our ability to effectively attain long-term economic growth depends on how well we can effectively innovate and transform our economies and open up new modern and higher technology opportunities in the production and export sectors,” President Lungu said.
He explained that there was need for African countries to diversify their economies in order to create sustainable jobs among the citizenry; as well as increase export earnings thereby boosting foreign exchange.
“Africa’s future lies in diversifying our production and export base so that we become competitive on the international market. This would enable our countries to absorb and create the much needed decent jobs for our growing population of educated youth. Economic transformation and diversification will, therefore, contribute to our shared prosperity and improve the standard of living of our people,” he said.
President Lungu also called upon Malawians to use their political independence to fully harness and exploit the immense natural resources for the improvement of the livelihood of the people. “Let our independence continue to inspire us to work even harder in our quest to eradicate hunger, poverty, joblessness and disease,” he said.
And President Lungu has hailed the cordial bilateral relationship between Zambia and Malawi from the time they two countries attained their independence from colonial masters which he said could be used to foster economic development for the two sister countries.
“We have come a long way, and we are indeed at a stage of economic transformation. Let us, therefore, seize the African Uion Agenda 2063, and the economic initiatives devised by COMESA and SADC in our collective efforts to accelerate economic transformation,” he said.
He observed that only hard work among the two countries’ citizenry would propel them to greater economic achievements through proper utilisation of abundant raw materials.
“Let our independence afford the people of the republic of Malawi an opportunity in which to can realize their dreams of economic freedom and prosperity as they move towards economic transformation for inclusive development. We have come a long way, and we are indeed at a stage of economic transformation,” he said.
And Professor Mutharika said there would be no development without personal commitment and the right attitude towards work and other responsibilities undertaken to foster positive results to encourage investor confidence and enhance job creation in the country.
“We must have people with high integrity. We must have peaceful people who are highly committed to whatever we do, and make sure we do it to the best of our ability. Corruption will be history if we have people of high integrity and honesty.
We must work tirelessly and work for results in whatever we do, in whatever circumstances,” Prof Mutharika said.
He said leaders must engage the people in ensuring constructive approach in attaining positive results in the various activities they were undertaking, urging political leaders, educationalists, traditional leaders and the church to unite in the fight against poverty and towards a common goal of developing Malawi.
Meanwhile, President Lungu was on Sunday conferred with the status of Free Person of the City of Blantyre.
The ceremony coincided with the signing of the Malawi/Zambia Trans Frontier Conservation Areas (TFCA) Treaty aimed at strengthening tourism between the two countries.
President Lungu is in Malawi accompanied by first lady Esther Lungu, Foreign Affairs Minister Harry Kalaba and Tourism’s Jean Kapata among others.