The World Bank has commended Malawi for its remarkable economic achievements in the past three months, notwithstanding concerns regarding macroeconomic stability and expenditure-side controls.
Hassan Zaman, the regional director for Macro, Equity, and Institutions for Africa East and South at the World Bank, expressed satisfaction during a meeting with Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Simplex Chithyola Banda in Lilongwe on Thursday. Zaman emphasized the positive impact of the consultations and collaboration undertaken by the Ministry.
He urged the Malawi Government to narrow the gap between the official and parallel exchange rates, highlighting the importance of maximizing gains from the recently qualified International Monetary Fund (IMF) Extended Credit Facility (ECF).
Zaman stated that the purpose of their visit was to assess the government’s recent macroeconomic adjustments and discuss ongoing collaboration with the World Bank to support crucial structural reforms aimed at stimulating private investment and fostering growth.
“The objective of our coming was to meet the authorities to take stock of the recent macroeconomic adjustments instituted by the government and to discuss how the World Bank can continue to work with the government to support its most important structural reforms to unlock private investment and growth.
“The bank is fully committed to supporting the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs with financial management capacity building,” he said.
Zaman said the results in three months since the minister assumed office have been incredible but government needs to enhance macroeconomic stability.
In his remarks, Chithyola Banda said the country is in a defining moment where qualification for the IMF Extended Credit Facility has triggered huge economic expectations from Malawians.
“The sluggish economic growth projected at 3.3 percent by the IMF team is as a result of the huge economic malaise and damage that has characterised the economy for so long. We are working on diversifying the economy through mega farms enhancement, labour export, mining discounted projects, among other measures,” he said.
The minister also said he consulted widely with different stakeholders to come up with the recovery, develop and protect (RDP), a roadmap to address fuel, forex, food and fertiliser problems in the short-term and develop and protect the economy in the long-term.
He said the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs is geared towards adhering to strict fiscal discipline and reducing the domestic debt as pointed out by the World Bank.