Malawi President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has highlighted superstitions, colonial occupation, oppressive regimes and wars as some of the major contributing factors to underdevelopment in most of African countries.
Chakwera made the sentiments at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe on Wednesday during the opening of the sixth Transform Africa Summit.
The Malawi leader observed that efforts by the African countries to lift themselves out of poverty have suffered setback due to what he termed as ‘a new scramble for Africa between the West and the East.
Chakwera stated that the West and East are both seeking to dominate the industries of tomorrow using Africa’s rich minerals and metals in collaboration with corrupt governments that are willing to sell their nation’s birth right to development and economic sovereignty for a song’.
“The result of all these delays is that Africa has been left behind. We have been left behind in agricultural production, in standards of education, in tourism, in mining, in health, in security, in infrastructure development, in trade, and many other sectors. In fact, I submit to you that we have been left behind so much that we will never catch up if our approach is to take the same path as those nations that are hundreds of years ahead of us in development,” he said.
Chakwera therefore challenged the African Union (AU) member states to use utilize available resources to develop themselves without waiting for the West and East to help.
“In any race, if you are too far behind your competitors who started the race long before you, the only way to have a fighting chance is to abandon the racing track and take a short cut. And so when it comes to the socio-economic development of Africa, the only way for us to catch up is to take a short cut, and the only short cut available to us now are technologies that allow us to go digital in every sector of our economy,” said Chakwera, stressing that digitzation is one of the shortcuts African countries can use to overcome their challenges.
He said his presence at the summit signifies his commitment to developing the ICT sector in order to achieve the digital economy.
At this point, the Malawi Head of State commended his Rwandan counterpart, President Kagame, for his leadership in the pursuit
“I also want to thank His Excellency President Mnangagwa for hosting this important summit that is key to enabling us to leapfrog decades of development stages and catch up with the rest of the world. As far as I am concerned, there should be more Heads of State here, because if we are going to rise as a continent and leapfrog into the 4th Industrial Revolution powered by digitization, then we must rise through technology, we must rise together, and we must rise now,” said Chakwera.