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persblog.be – Edition 2014.11.21 – On September 12, 2012, Joyce Banda was a speaker at the UN General Assembly where she dealt with peace and sustainable development, health care and happiness.
Joyce Banda: “State of underdevelopment is not our destiny!”
“(…) It is an honor today to address this assembly for the first time in my capacity as President of the Republic of Malawi. As the assembly may be aware, I took office after the death of my predecessor. His Excellency Professor Bingu Wa Mutharika. (…)
Joining the world’s leaders here and becoming only the second female head of state in Africa’s history after Her Excellency President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, is a moment of pride for me. (…)
Mr. President, the theme of the General Debate this year is “Bringing about adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations by peaceful means”. This theme allows us to reflect on some of the conflict situations around the world, including in Africa. These conflicts have a devastating effect on the lives of millions, especially women and children. The impact of these conflicts goes beyond the people directly involved as they affect the region and the world.
Let me agree with the UN Secretary General, Excellency Ban Ki-moon when he said in his re-election speech that one of the greatest opportunities we have for a better world without conflict is through sustainable development (…) and that they are buried under global tariffs and taxes. When these frustrations are in place conflict takes root.
For decades, I have fought these issues in Malawi as a social justice and human rights activist and through my work at the grassroots. I have experienced the struggles of the poor and the suffering of a Malawian woman. I have championed the advancement of the oppressed and marginalized, fought for the rights of women and children, campaigned for the betterment of the rural and urban poor. (…)
Now. as the President of the Republic of Malawi, I have a vision. My vision is to eradicate poverty through economic growth and wealth creation. (…) Growth is about wealth and prosperity for all, opportunity for all, happiness for all, political and economic freedom for all. Growth. is also about growing the number of children in school and young people in jobs. Growth is about increasing the number of mothers who give safe birth in a hospital, and of growing the number of families who have plenty of food.
(…) Our plans need to be translated into action. (…) The five priorities are: energy, tourism, agriculture, mining and infrastructure development. Central to these priorities is our emphasis on delivery through partnership with the private sector. (…)
In addition, l have also launched two initiatives: The Presidential initiative on Maternal Health and Safe Motherhood; and the Presidential initiative on Poverty and Hunger Reduction to fast track the interventions needed to address the social needs of the disadvantaged groups especially women and youth.
Mr. President, Malawi refuses to accept what others may consider to be our destiny: state of underdevelopment. Malawi is committed to change this perception. (…)
Malawi will continue to need global support in the short and medium term. We need this support to protect the rural poor from food shortages caused by prolonged dry spells in some parts of the country. Malawi is looking for partnerships to build its energy capacity. Malawi needs support to attract private investment for the rich potential we have in ago-processing and mining, among others. We are looking for partnerships to support the development of our transport and communications infrastructure in order to improve the access to markets.
Mr. President, before l conclude, I wish to draw your attention to the following three issues that have a bearing on most least developed countries.
Firstly, I call upon the General Assembly of the United Nations to ensure that the ‘Istanbul Declaration and the Programme of Action’ which was adopted in Turkey in May, 2011 be implemented in its entirety and in an effective and timely manner. In particular: duty free quota, free market access and supply side capacity must be ensured to the least developed countries.
Secondly. most least developed countries are facing the adverse effects of climate change, which is causing flooding, land degradation as well as drought. In this regard, Malawi welcomes the recent outcome of the ‘UN Conference on Sustainable Development’ held in Brazil, where international consensus emerged and agreement was reached on important areas of sustainable development. Implementation of these agreements is very crucial for our future.” (…)
About the author. “Joyce Hilda Banda was the President of Malawi from 2012 to 2014. She is the founder and leader of the People’s Party. An educator and grassroots women’s rights activist, she was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2006 to 2009 and Vice-President of Malawi from May 2009 to April 2012. She was Malawi’s first female president.”
Banda sits on a number international organization bodies, and moreover she has been a panelist and motivation speaker at a number of international conferences and forums, including the International Conference on Women in Beijing, the American and African Business Women’s Africa Conference in London and the Women Deliver Conference in Washington, DC. She also founded her own foundation, the ‘Joyce Banda Foundation‘.
From ‘apbspeakers.com‘: “During the two year period of her presidency, Malawi registered considerable success in the areas of maternal and child health and reproductive health in general as the country reduced maternal mortality ratio from 675 deaths per 100,000 live births to 460. The achievement is attributed to the model which President Banda introduced, which was a balanced act of both traditional and technical dimensions and approaches.”
Joyce Banda put women’s rights at centre of new presidency. Both Joyce Banda and Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf have long championed women’s rights. F.D.