Thursday, October 11, 2007

President of Malawi question

You are the president of Malawi. You have a net aid $1 billion. You have 80% of your population under the poverty line. 40% under the extreme poverty line (without access to either food, shelter or clothing). How would you spend your $1 billion and reduce poverty?

Refer to


Cravinsima said...

continue to assist in subsidizing inputs for agriculture, including irrigation subsidies for users considered small holder... or in other words.. stop listening to the world bank economists who have a degree from an ivy league school with absolutely NO idea about the intricacies that exist at the local level. Promote food production and proper distribution within and STOP allowing the WFP and others to decide what's best for Malawi. Malawi can do what it knows and does better than most countries in Africa and the rest of the world... care for each other.

Cravinsima said...

Sorry to offend anyone who paid such a high price for an education that they could have learned from a local farmer who can explain more about Malawi agriculture and politics than any academic blowhard.

Ankit said...

If I were the President of Malawi, I would probably split the $1 billion into 3 parts.
The first part would try and get everyone the basic necessities like food, clothes and shelter.
The second part would be spent in improving the infrastructure like constructing new schools, roads, etc.
The third part of a billion dollars would be utilized to impart education so that the people know how to utilize money when they have it.
Money should not be physically handed over to the people. They should be educated in a way that they could earn their own living and have a means of occupation.

Ian Lau said...

I would first invest up to half of the money to keep a cashflow going into the country, rather than spending it all in one go.

As for direct aid, I think there needs to be a balance between patching up immediate needs such as providing AIDS medicine and building up the people and country infrastructure. For the "patch-work," I think for efficiency purposes there would have to be some national aid program to make sure people get the necessary sustenance to stay allive. As for building the infrastructure, I agree with mobilizing movements run by locals and on the ground.

As the conditions improve, the cashflow coming from the investments will provide further aid and we may be able to shift the balance between patch work and long-term goals.

Anita said...

I would have created jobs which do not require education (like jobs in agriculture, construction etc.) and fairly paid the workers. I would have started evening education program which would be compulsory for all workers, which would prepare them for work which requires education. Along with evening training, I would have also started primary and secondary schools for their children with free lunch program.
Within 5 years, the workers would be prepared for jobs which require education. So with time and merit their job would change.
I would also have made strict rules for population control and corruption.

Stefanie said...

If I was in charge of spending 1$ billion I would try to fight Malawi's poverty by investing in solar energy and providing a green infrastructure for small villages. I would try to make Malawi as sustainable as possible in order to prevent future shortcuts in food and eneregy, caused by Malawi's current monoculture and geographical position. Represenatives of other countries would then come to Malawi to see how this country handles the climate change and pay for it's know how. Malawi's energy efficiency would therefore help to build an attracktive energy supply model from scratch.

shirley said...

i think the initial course of action should be to find people with the need and knowledge to solve the nations problems.

in order to do this, i would setup a majority of the billion dollars as startup funds and prizes for winning solutions to the problem in the following categories:

- food production
- fuel production/alternate fuels
- healthcare (either cheaper medicine production or training for workers, or a way to keep people healthy longer)
- education (children, as well as trade instruction)
- economic growth (ways to improve infrastructure so that economic growth is more easily attainable - better roads to transport goods, for example)

this contest of sorts would take place in two parts - the first would be open to all countries and would be a call for solutions to general problems (for example, water filtration systems). the rules would require a focus on a low cost of production, and an element which would show how this product/solution is sustainable, both environmentally and economically.

the second part would entail the best plans for applying these solutions to actual situations; how can the winning water filtration system be used throughout the country? who needs this most? which people are most invested in this solution and how can we get those people to help implement the solution and help with accountability.

the main challenge here is to best involve people within the country (since people who live in malawi would have the most wisdom and insight to the problems of malawi).

another significant challenge is the matter of accountability. responsibility for implementing a solution or distributing funds needs to be shared amongst many people so no one person/entity can take advantage of the aid (by redirecting funds or equipment for profit, etc). furthermore there should be a financial incentive for those participating in the implementation on the ground level - people should see the most profit (montary and otherwise) from the correct implementation of a solution.

aside for Malawi's Next Big Searcher contest, the remaining aid (let's say...10 million dollars?) should go into some sort of investment or savings funds to earn interest and be set aside for dealing with completely unforseen emergencies. as these funds are used, the fund can be replenished (hopefully) by the economic gains won from all the solutions found by the original grants opportunity.

AnKuR said...

As president of Malawi, it would be important to realize that the $1 billion needs to be utilized to generate substantial economic activity within the country to ensure self-reliance and possibly additional inflow of money.

But of course the challenges do remain with so much percentage of the population below the poverty line.

In Malawi agriculture contributes to 37% of GDP and 85% of export revenues whereas the lack of proper transport infrastructure, bureaucratic red tape, corruption, etc causes hindrance to the chief economic activity.

To counter this a good percentage of the aid received should be spent on improving telecommunications infrastructure which can ensure good governance. Substantial amount of money can be spent to implement eGovernance, grievance administration, etc. Additional measures to make agriculture more attractive can be taken e,g availability of micro finance, cheap leasing of agricultural implements,etc.

Some (about 15-20%) of the money should be utilized to alleviate extreme conditions like lack of housing, lack of basic sanitary needs, lack of proper education etc.

Also some sort of a PR campaign can be undertaken which will market malawi as a place for investment. In the long term malawi should aim to be a manufacturing based economy to reduce over-reliance on agriculture.

Dhara said...

As president of Malawi, it is extremely important to understand the scope of the problems Malawi as a nation is facing, and thereafter prioritize the given funds accordingly.

The main objective of using the allotted funds would be not only be to aid Malawian but also form a vicious circle, which would help regenerate funds. As Agriculture is considered the main occupation, and is the main source of Income, funds would be invested in Agriculture so as to help ease each farmer’s workload by providing easy access to loan etc.


The high import costs that are incurred by Malawi could be dropped, if better infrastructure was provided. The funds allotted into Infrastructure would not only help reduce importing and exporting cost, it would also elevate internal trade practices in Malawi.

Infrastructure would consist of better housing, schools, roads etc. This invariably could have an impact on Education. Hence Malawi would make education a compulsion and with the funds allocated would look at providing education to as many as possible.

Being Ignorant is being a fool. Even with the allocated funds, revolution and eventually the evolution of Malawi would take more time and even more money, Hence as mentioned above the need to create a vicious circle is a must. Investing in organization’s like raising Malawi would help bring about this vicious circle of change. Providing these organizations with much required bureaucratic help and support amongst other things like better infrastructure. Helping these organizations would help better cultivate Foreign relations for Malawi.

These Foreign Relations would help better Economic prospects of the country. Positioning the country as a Tourist attraction would be one area that would require funds. The famous Lake of Malawi ( ) could be used to promote the colors of Malawi to the rest of the world.

Foreign relations could be further achieved by using social media, to attract individuals towards the Cultures prospect of Malawi. Funds would also be distributed to services like that would support and help spread, through the use of internet and social media to better Malawi and spread awareness not only in Malawi but the world regarding topic such as HIV aids (which is very rampant in Malawi).

The above mentioned areas would fall in the parameter of the allocated 1 billion funds that would be used not only to Better Malawi and the life’s of its people, but help bring about a change and revolution.

Vaishali said...

As a President of such a nation, it is very important to realize that formal education or drugs is not the only thing that would save the nation or do wonders to the current scenario. Many countries use programs like food for work to make productive work force from these sections of population and more importantly reducing the percentage of unemployed population.

For malawi what I would initially stress on are programs like food for education. Researching through quite a few informal references it indicates that the as and when the food supply has increased, the turn out of students at school has increased. This is going to set the grounds from a long time point of view as the section of population which is being benefited by this program would turn into an asset for the country only after more than a decade.

A part of the fund would be utilized for the young population. I would budget a decent amount of fund to turn the young generation as a source of income for the country. I would make provisions to encourage the young population in occupations like agriculture or other such occupations which has been prevailing for years. This can be done by providing resources and other benefits to encourage people to get involved.

Malawi also has a high death rate. Considering that I would try to provide better medical facilities and would try to seek attention on a global level to encourage medical support from the developed nations of the world.

I would try to make very careful use of ICT. The rate at which the role and significance of technology is increasing, it is only increasing in the regions where it has existed for years, the developed countries are developing more. In other words, a high rate of inventions in technology is also increasing the digital gap. I would try to use ICT to reduce this gap.