By Desmond Kadam’manja
My friend Desmond (not the author) beer drinking will not take you anywhere, it is better you concentrate on business and women.” Said the Nigerian “… it is sad to see you Malawians failing to do simple business, all your spare parts and clothing shops are being run by foreigners, come to Lagos my friend you will never find a foreigner running a small or medium enterprise even a simple thing such as a barber shop, never!”
This was a story a friend of mine told me last night when we were sharing a nice cold one, he said he and his friend Desmond used to have a Nigerian friend who felt sorry for our country when he saw just how pathetic we were when it came to doing business. He was so appalled to see that all Malawian youths cared about was beer drinking and loafing, instead of being serious about development and undertaking in small business ventures. I could not agree more with him.
It is a shame to see that many of our shops in town are being run by foreigners while us Malawians just sit around and complain about lack of jobs and opportunities. It is very depressing to see that Malawians cannot even do such simple business ventures such as running clothes, motor vehicle spare parts and cosmetic shops. Go to Devils Street in Lilongwe and ask how many of those shops are run by Malawians.
Us Malawians we say we are a peaceful, kind, and welcoming nation, well I say we just dull, sleep walking zombies. Peaceful or not, no nation should allow foreigners especially the likes of Nigerians, Burundis, etc to come in and invade our space and undertake in economics activities which are rightfully ours and which there have no right to do because most of them are usually in the country illegally and the Law of Malawi says the minimum capital of a foreign investor’s business investment in Malawi should be $ 20,000, which I doubt many of those shops in Devil’s Street are.
The problem is that we Malawians are a sad breed, because our hearts are full of jealousy, we do not want to see a fellow Malawian doing well and when a Malawian opens a business we do not support them but favour foreigners.
It is a shame that when brave and ambitious Malawians are starting off in a venture, people discourage them, and hope that they fail, but once they make it big everyone wants to share in their hard earned spoils.
The only businesses we know are primitive, such as hawking, selling second hand clothes, tomatoes, and maize.
Come on Malawians wake up, our destiny is in our own hands, it is time we take back our country and build it into something that will make our future generations( no I do not believe the world is ending in 2012, nor in the next 100 years),proud.