Last week President Joyce Banda of the Republic of Malawi delivered the 15th annual Grosvenor Distinguished Lecture. Each year the school of Geography brings someone in for this lecture and this year President Banda happened to be in town. Banda discussed transformational partnerships in Malawi. Before Banda delivered her speech, I had the opportunity to talk to her about her presidency, education and issues she is pushing for in Malawi. Banda was Vice President of Malawi when President Mutharika died; automatically making her the President of the Republic of Malawi. Banda discusses the reactions she got as the first female president of Malawi…
“I’m very excited about what I see, African men are helping to create space for women to participate in leadership.”
“And I must say that if there is any time we have faced any resistance at all, that it is for negativity,” said Banda.
Negativity from fellow women are the least of Banda’s worries. Right now fifty-percent of the population lives under poverty. When Banda was elected she sold her private car and jet and put that money back into the economy for her citizens. Banda believes that even if she can’t make Malawi perfect, she can make improvements….
“675 women die giving birth and for me that is not acceptable,” said Banda. “We have tried so hard and have reduced the number to 460. Not that 460 is anything to be proud of but it is an improvement.”
President Banda closes her statement by saying that improvement is what keeps her going and as long as there is work to be done she will continue working. Banda left Texas and is now in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.
Hannah Cramer, KTSW News
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