Saturday, October 10, 2009

(NYASATIMES) Minister shamed on ‘unpatriotic’ jibe: UN report says Malawians abroad contribute to economy

Minister shamed on ‘unpatriotic’ jibe: UN report says Malawians abroad contribute to economy
By Nyasa Times
Published: October 9, 2009

A few days after Malawi’s minister of internal affairs Aaron Sangala said citizens who leave the country to seek a better life abroad are “unpatriotic” the 2009 United Nations Human Development Index has revealed that Malawians in Diaspora have contributed over $1million(over K140 million) to the economy through remittances.

Human Development Report (HDR) was launched on Wednesday by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP in Lilongwe.

“In 2007, Malawians living away from home contributed US $ 1million in remittances (about MK 141 million). The remittances are sent to immediate family members, but the benefits spread broadly into the Malawian economy,” reads a statement from the UN body.

Speaking during the official launch of the report entitled “Overcoming Barriers : Human Mobility and Development,” UNDP Resident Coordinator, Richard Dictus said Malawi and other poor developing countries can achieve large gains to human development if they among other things reduce obstacles to movement and improve lives of migrants.

“But movement of people especially skilled labour in search of better remuneration has resulted in human resources emergency in the health sector in Malawi,” he pointed out.

“The issue of brain drain, especially regarding skilled personnel such as doctors and nurses is not only a concern for Malawi, but other developing countries too,” said Dictus.

Migration can be a vital strategy for households and families seeking to diversify and improve their livelihoods, he observed.

“Large gains to human development can be achieved by lowering barriers to movement and improving the treatment of movers. A bold vision is needed to realize these gains,” UN diplomat said.

The HDR highlights that Malawi has made some upward achievements an increase in life expectancy of over 52 years.

The country moved one step up on the HDI from 161 to 160 with 0.493 points out of 181 countries but with less than 0.500 points is still among countries with low human development.


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