African Dream: From Delhi college to Malawi presidency

August 10th, 2011 - 8:14 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 10 (IANS) “The African Dream” brightened up Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) Wednesday as the eponymous book authored by a distinguished alumnus, who is now the president of the landlocked African country Malawi, was launched here amid renewed optimism about the continent’s future.

“The book has been written by our president to reject the idea that Africa is a poor nation. Mutharika is the man who changed Malawi from a food deficit country to a food surplus country,” Chrissie Chawanje Mughogho, Malawi’s high commissioner to India, said while unveiling the 700-page book that maps out the continent’s resurgence as a new hub of the world economy.

Subtitled ‘From Poverty to Prosperity’, the book repudiates negative cliches about Africa as a poor and underdeveloped region and offers suggestions to spur the continent’s growth and renewal.

Bingu wa Mutharika, who fondly calls himself a ‘Dilliwalla” (a resident of Delhi), encourages the world to think positively about the resource-rich continent and spells out a strategy on how Africa can achieve sustainable macro-economic growth and development within the global system.

“Mutharika came up with his own idea of how Africa can grow and develop, and the roots of his thoughts lie in India,” said K. Moyo, Deputy High Comissioner of Malawi to India.

As the book was launched at the college where Mutharika, who is widely known as as an international economist and development specialist, spent three years as an undergraduate in the 1960s and acquired a Bachelor of Commerce degree, many friends and batchmates of the African scholar-politician were present at the book launching ceremony.

Ashok Mittal, a batchmate of Mutharika, recalled how the latter used to talk about uplifting his country from the mire of poverty. “We used to call him Prof. Tom due to his maturity at that age,” Mittal recalled fondly.

“Me and Mutharika, both of us realised that at a time when the world is talking about terrorism, there is another kind of terrorism that is destroying the underdeveloped regions. In this, the whites are exploiting the blacks of Africa for their trade benefits,” he said.

Namibia’s High Commissioner Samod N’ Bambo struck an upbeat note about the burgeoning India-Africa partnership. “India never forgets Africa’s development. There is a very special bond between Africa and India and it should continue with the younger generations to really fulfill our dream. Like Mutharika, India also made us proud by recognising our efforts every time,” he said.

Describing Mutharika as a humble person, SRCC principal P.C. Jain said: “It is an achievement for our college that our student became the president of a country. Students should take inspiration from him.”

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