By Chikumbutso Mtumodzi, Dowa
President of the Republic of Malawi, His Excellency Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera’s presence at the 2023 UN General Assembly (UNGA78) in New York, which is slated for September 18 to 26, 2022, should be seen as a strategic move that can potentially benefit Malawi in various ways.
Many political and economic pundits have expressed their varied opinions about whether or not our beloved Head of State should attend this annual gathering of world leaders. My interest is in some Malawians’ argument that the country’s economic hardships should take precedence over international engagements.
I agree. However, it is equally imperative to consider the long-term advantages and opportunities that can arise from such high-level diplomatic participation.
Here are some of my personal views:
1. International Cooperation and Partnerships: The United Nations General Assembly provides a unique platform for world leaders to engage in dialogue, foster cooperation, and build partnerships with other nations. By attending this global gathering, our President Chakwera has the opportunity to establish connections with leaders from around the world, including those from countries that could potentially offer assistance or investment in Malawi’s development projects. These partnerships can lead to increased foreign direct investment, technology transfer, and knowledge sharing, which are crucial for economic growth and development.
2. Promotion of Malawi’s Interests: I have had the privilege of attending UNGA before and I am well aware that the UN General Assembly serves as a forum where countries can advocate for their national interests and influence global decision-making processes. President Chakwera’s presence in New York will provide him with the opportunity to represent our beautiful country on an international stage, ensuring that the country’s concerns and priorities are heard by the global community. This can be particularly valuable for a developing nation like Malawi, as it provides an opportunity to address issues such as climate change, poverty alleviation, healthcare, education, and human rights at a global level.
3. Access to International Funding and Support: I am also hugely aware that UNGA brings together representatives from various international organizations, including financial institutions and donor agencies. By attending this event, President Chakwera can engage with these entities and explore avenues for securing financial assistance or grants for development projects in Malawi. This is especially important considering the economic hardships faced by the country. Building relationships with potential donors and showcasing Malawi’s commitment to development can increase the chances of receiving financial support, which can be instrumental in addressing pressing issues and driving economic progress.
It is crucial to note that President Chakwera’s attendance at the UN General Assembly does not imply a disregard for the economic challenges faced by Malawi. Rather, it demonstrates a proactive approach to finding solutions and opportunities on a global scale. The potential benefits of this trip, including international cooperation, partnerships, promotion of national interests, and access to funding, outweigh the short-term concerns of austerity measures.
In conclusion, President Chakwera’s participation in the UN General Assembly should be seen as an investment in Malawi’s future. By engaging with world leaders, advocating for national interests, and exploring avenues for international support, the President has the potential to pave the way for economic growth and development in Malawi.