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Economists confront growth bottlenecks

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Despite having well-crafted economic development blueprints and other policy documents necessary to propel growth, Malawi’s economy has stagnated in the past decades, a situation requiring some quick remedies.

This was the general feeling among economists and government officials at the opening of a two-day Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama) Annual lake Conference in Mangochi District on Thursday.

The experts took turns in highlighting how a passive approach to business has stifled chances for sustainable economic growth for Malawi.

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Malawi has, on average, been growing by not more than five percent per annum in the past decades, but figures show that to attain its medium-term aspiration of becoming a middle-income economy by 2030, the country needs to grow its economy by at least six percent each year.

Addressing delegates at the opening of the conference, Ecama President Lauryn Nyasulu said the country remains among the poorest of global economies albeit having well-crafted development plans.

Figures she presented show that as of 2020, about 50.8 percent of the population was poor, relatively unchanged from 50.7 percent reported in 2010, and with little progress compared to 2005 (52.4 percent).

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“Statistics on poverty, inequality, and human development validates this perspective and poverty in Malawi has remained pervasive.

“These statistics underscore the urgency of taking a different approach in the implementation of Malawi 2063 to ensure we unlock the country’s development,” Nyasulu said.

In his remarks, Finance Minister Sosten Gwengwe said most Malawians have been too passive despite pressing Capital Hill for tough measures to help address the economic bottlenecks rocking the country.

Gwengwe also faulted what he called politicians’ quest for popularity in policy interventions at the expense of the economy.

“We have a chance, and now is the time to start doing the right things,” Gwengwe said.

Economist Winford Masanjala said Malawi needed no fresh blueprints to propel growth, saying at all levels, the people should be action-oriented.

The Ecama conference is held under the theme ‘Addressing the Policy Implementation Challenges to Accelerate the Achievement of Malawi 2063.’

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