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TRUE LEADER GO BEYOND EXPECTATIONS

By Judgement Katika

Joseph Mwanamvenkha was born on 19th October, 1964 at Namathiya village in Senior Chief Kadewere, the foot of Chikangulu and Chitembere hills. He is from a humble Christian family and his is father was a church minister at the village church. The young Joseph began to show brilliance from an early age at Masuku Primary school in the same district.

During that time, repeating a classroom was not surprising. In fact it was the norm among primary school students to repeat standard 8, sometimes even up to eight times before being selected to secondary school.The school journey of many students across the country ended at this point owing to repeating many times in standard 8 and not being selected to secondary school.

It was a different case for young Joseph Mwanamvekha because he never repeated any class, and he would always take position number from standard one up to standard 8. In 1981, he was selected to Chiradzulu secondary school where he continued to take position one from form one up to form four before being selected to study a Bachelor’s Degree in social sciences majoring in Economics at the University of Malawi Chancellor College where he graduated in 1989.

By this time, the industry may have gotten wind of the young Mwanamvekha’s academic hotshot status because he received job offers from four companies: the Malawi Investment Promotion Agency (MIPA) ; the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RMB) ; Lever Brothers, and EP&D, which is the Ministry of Finance’s economic affairs department. He went for the Reserve Bank of Malawi.

At the Reserve Bank of Malawi, Mwanamvekha was instrumental in the creation of a department called Money and Capital Markets, which is now called Financial Markets Operations, which is responsible for analysing financial markets in the country and providing policy guidance to the central bank on monetary matters. This department was also responsible for the creation of the legal and financial framework for establishing the Malawi Stock Exchange; Malawi stockbrokers Limited and Discount Houses. His team that time comprised of current Reserve Bank of Malawi Governor, Dr Wilson Banda.

Mwanamvekha worked for the Central Bank for seven years before moving to become Head of Treasury at the Financial Corporation of Malawi (FINICOM) which became NEDBANK and now MyBucs. This was the time he was a member of a group of economists that established the Financial Market Dealers Association of Malawi. Some of the members in that group were Wilson Mlauzi; Chikabvu Nyirenda and George…….

In 1998, Mwanamvekha became the first Chief Executive Officer for Continental Discount House (CDH), the first discount houses in Malawi, where he was also a minority shareholder. During his time at CDH, and together with Dr Khwima Nthara; Dr Perks Ligoya, Dr Wilson Banda and Paul Kwangwere established the establishing the Economic Association of Malawi (ECAMA), an economic think-tank that has over the years been critical in offering checks and balances to government over economic matters.

From CDH, he went on and become Chief Executive Officer for government owned Malawi Savings Bank (MSB) from 2007 to 2009. Under his management, the bank expanded and was able to post a profit and paid a devident to government; the first and only time that MSB made a profit since established in 1994. From 2010 to 2012 Mwanamvekha moved to the Ministry of Finance as Secretary to the Treasury (ST) where he also left an indelible record as the one who made it possible for civil servants to start receiving their salaries electronically through banks. Remember this was perhaps a single and most telling decision, which helped purge out ghost workers, an age-old problem that gave government some tithing headaches for along time. It also helped save lives of people that were felling cash across the thugs.

When DPP took over power in 2014 under Professor Peter Muthaluka, Mwanamvekha made it in the first Cabinet as Minister of industry and Trade where he also left a mark of performance. Among some of the projects that he initiated at the ministry was the creation of the ‘buy Malawi’ concept designed to encourage Malawians to buy locally produced products and services. The objective of the concept was to stimulate economic growth by promoting local ……..and to prevent unnecessary forex flight from the country through otherwise avoidable imports.

It was also during Mwanamvekha’s time at the Ministry of Trade that government organised the famous investment forums that saw the convergence of the investors from all over the world in Malawi to discuss and sample investment opportunities. During this time, the industry Trade and Tourism published a compendium of investment Opportunities cutting across all sectors of the economy to help investors make the right investment choices. This time, doing business index in Malawi improved by 10 steps, the highest this country has ever recorded at any particular time. So many companies were established during this time as a product of this initiative.

In 2018 Mwanamvekha was appointed Minister of Agriculture before he become Minister of Finance in 2019. Although his time at the ministry was brief, he managed to bring back donor support including the all-…….. budgetary support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which has been frozen under the administration of Joyce Banda and the People’s Party (PP) due to CASHGATE.

Throughout the years, A commend philanthropist, Mwanamvekha has also helped put many children from disadvantaged backgrounds in schools across the Constituency and the district through bursary run by his Joseph Mwanamvekha Foundation so that they take a shot at their future through access to education.

Joseph Mwanamvekha is DPP’s Spokesperson on Finance and the economy and leading contender to replace Professor Peter Mutharika as the party’s President at its convention expected to take place soon. He is so far running a clean and smooth campaign, which is causing pundits and naysayers alike to stand up and look. As former president, Bakili Muluzi would say, this country has been run by politicians but now it needs economic engineer Mwanamvekha …….be so much the economic Messiah that this country has been longing to realistically graduate from a perennial beggar into a bustling enterprise. His record continues to speak volume.

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