As the year 2021 is going to an end, countries all over the world are still at pains to resuscitate the economy which has been in tatters since the emergence of the Coronavirus. African countries, whose livelihoods depend much on agriculture, have been the main victims leaving many ordinary citizens in financial abyss.
But speaking Tuesday evening in Lilongwe, Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera “turned the wound into wisdom” by outlining a master plan that will likely help the landlocked country to be resilient to the Covid-19 shocks thereby stimulating the economy.
Chakwera unveiled the Malawi’s comprehensive social-economic recovery plan which seeks to generate over K500 billion within the next two years.
The President mentioned that the country’s economy is bleeding from four wounds namely; structural limitations, gross imbalance between imports and exports, Covid-19 pandemic and government waste.
On structural limitations, Chakwera highlighted that Malawi being an agrarian economy, the Socio-Economic Recovery Plan will seek to start addressing this wound by expanding agricultural production through stimulus interventions to support agro-processing, especially where there is a state of readiness to scale up production, deliver to existing foreign markets, and achieve import substitution.
While expanding and increasing agricultural production, Chakwera said there was also need to stimulate other sectors like mining, infrastructure development, and manufacturing to widen the economy base.
“To formalize the informal sector, the recovery plan includes stimulus interventions to support Malawians register and grow their own small to medium companies, especially companies to operate in the mining sector that is finally opening up; companies to manufacture and supply goods made from locally produced raw materials; and construction companies that will take advantage of emerging opportunities to build roads, waterworks, buildings, and civil works,” he said.
Touching the gross imbalance between imports and exports, Chakwera said Malawi has suffered a lot economically because of the travel restrictions owing to the fact that the country is a net-importer of goods and services.
However, he said some mitigation efforts by his administration have tried to some extent lessen the impacts.
“Although those mitigation efforts by my Administration have not completely ended the financial suffering in our midst, the situation now would have been far worse if we had not intervened. It is because we intervened that our 9 economy has shown more resilience than the economies of our neighbors.
“Because we intervened, Malawi is one of only two countries in the entire SADC region that did not go into a recession in 2020. Because we intervened, Malawi’s incomes only suffered stagnation, while per capita GDP in neighboring countries suffered regression. Because we intervened, Malawi registered one of the lowest numbers of food insecure households in the region, which declined by 37 percent,” the President said.
On the COVID 19, Dr Chakwera said the unveiled plan has also paid considerable attention to intensifying action against the pandemic. He said such includes scaling up vaccination and strict adherence to COVID 19 prevention protocols.
He added the plan will also empower the youth to make them active participants in driving Malawi’s development agenda.
For the plan to be successful, Chakwera called for concerted effort from all stakeholders as no one is happy with the current situation.
While extending goodwill to the country’s citizenry during this forthcoming festive season, Dr Chakwera directed various Government ministries and departments, to review both their local and international travel plans.
He pointed out he has already taken the lead in exercising due diligence in avoiding unnecessary expenditure.
Meanwhile, the President has expressed hope that despite current challenges his administration remains steadfast to recover the country’s economy.