What a mismatch

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Malawi is expanding and developing. Much of the evidence of this is seen in the three major cities of Mzuzu, Lilongwe and Blantyre. New complexes are coming up, people are building more and more houses, national treasures such as Bingu National Stadium and the like are adding weight to the country and we also have an increased number of vehicles in our cities.

In the cities, areas that were considered outskirts are embracing development and a number of projects are being implemented in these areas. Property acquisition and development have become busy avenues. Every time one visits a city after a few months, they see obvious changes and developments. On everyday basis, there is high demand for goods people once rarely looked for. Hardware shops are everywhere.

Entrepreneurship has also taken a new face in the country after being championed by the government, motivational speakers and other relevant national figures. An increased number of people is generating money through various ventures other than searching for formal employment and this has contributed to the rise in development projects on the country’s landscape. Small and medium enterprises are sprouting and blossoming. It is a whole new era overall.

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Malawi is definitely on the move.

But, as much we have these developments, we also seem to have too many contradictions to these developments.

I will start with our M1 Road. It is in dilapidated state. This can be considered the most important and most used road in the country but the condition it is usually in is appalling. And if this can be said about a road with such significance, your guess is as good as mine on the condition of other roads across the country. We talk about promoting tourism but most roads in our ‘exotic’ tourist destinations are a mess.

Most people that are expanding the cities and developing properties and projects face the same predicament; accessibility is a nightmare. There are many areas in the country where people have built nice houses and relevant amenities but the roads are a nightmare. We need to improve the road network and the condition of the roads to match developments that are springing around them.

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Then, we have old structures in cities; structures that are, evidently, deteriorating and have not been maintained for years. This makes cities look like a beautiful lady coming from a fresh bath, wearing expensive perfume, only to dress up in tattered clothes. It does not balance at all. It’s like taking five steps forward, only to take 10 steps backwards. We can do better at maintaining our cities and creating an environment where development flourishes. We can do better at maintaining national heritage and national treasures.

It has become evident that Bingu National Stadium has become a target for vandals and people who do not appreciate good things. It is important that the authorities at the stadium remain vigilant in keeping security tight and maintaining the condition of the stadium. It will be a shame, years from now, to see the beautiful architectural work of art lose its charm and become another Chichiri Stadium.

Developments in the digital sector are also being negatively impacted by systems that are not rising up to meet new innovations. Electricity is a problem. Network is erratic. Customer service is a mess. Time management is a hassle. So, instead, you find that online and mobile transactions forever meet glitches that cause headaches instead of making life easier for the people involved. New services are still wearing old caps (using old systems) and this is defeating the whole purpose of development. We need to be dedicated and match what we are trying to achieve with corresponding improvements on structures we have on the ground.

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Malawi is a beautiful country that has a lot to offer. But a lot to offer comes with effort and discipline. A lot to offer comes with recognising the value the country holds and capitalising on the things that will foster the growth and development of the country. Let us strike a balance between where we were and where we want to be in the present and the future.

I rest my case.

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