What I am saying every day to Malawians is that time has come for us to move from aid to trade. We have picked several sectors that we think we can focus on immediately in order for us to grow our economy. So we have decided to diversify agriculture, we decided to develop our tourism sector, we have decided to develop our mining sector.
It's heavy, but I am able to carry it. Why? Because I'm an African woman. An African woman carries heavy loads anyway. That's how we are trained; we are brought up that nothing is unbearable. I use that now, positively. I use that now to have the thick skin that I have, and not fear, and move forward, and push; and push forward.
I sat down in 1989 and I made up my mind at that point that I was going to spend the rest of my life assisting women and youth to gain social and political empowerment through business and education. I convinced myself economic empowerment of women was going to be key, especially in a country like this where most women didn't go to school.
What I have said to my team is that at a point such as this, with 40% adjustment in our currency, it means that Malawians are paying the price. While that is going on, they need to see, us, the commitment on our part, particularly right at the top. The political will needs to go through this with the people, side by side.
Overall, I have formed three major organizations: the National Association of Business Women, the Young Women's Leaders Network, and the Joyce Banda Foundation. Under the foundation, we have a huge program that targets women to teach them about HIV and other diseases and to give them economic empowerment.