By Thom Khanje:
More precious than our children are the children of our children,” so goes an Egyptian proverb. For all of the challenges that we must overcome in this time of global uncertainty, the most urgent should be on the kind of world we will leave for those coming after us.
Today, we are taking decisions whose fruits or costs will be enjoyed or borne by our children. And we have the responsibility to leave our children with a safer, more peaceful and more prosperous world than the one we inherited.
And there is certainly no better way a nation can prepare a brighter country for its future generations than through effective development planning and implementation.
The growth and development of a nation comes from deliberate strategy and collective action. There has to be a tremendous input at both individual and institutional levels for a nation to blossom to prosperity. And national transformation requires long-term planning and persistent effort because of the extent of change and progression that is needed to achieve it.
“Effective long-term planning is critical to shaping our collective vision that will unlock the wealth that is needed to achieve and maintain Malawians’ good quality of life,” says National Planning Commission (NPC) Board Chairperson Richard Mkandawire. Vision 2020, which was launched in 1998 to inspire Malawi’s national development at the beginning of the 21st Century, expired on December 31 2020 and Malawi will now have a new vision to be launched by President Lazarus Chakwera in Lilongwe today.
It is a youth-centric transformational national development blue-print that has been named ‘Malawi 2063’ or MW2063 in short, with a vision statement of “inclusive wealth creation and self-reliance”.
It will be implemented through various medium and short-term strategies and plans, including a 10-Year Implementation Plan, Five-year Quick Wins Strategy, sectoral and district council plans as well as annual national budgets by the Ministry of Finance.
MW2063 outlines collective aspirations and goals of Malawians towards the year 2063. It is anchored on the three pillars of agricultural productivity and commercialisation; industrialisation; and urbanisation.
It articulates enablers that will propel the country towards achieving economic independence, inclusive wealth creation, self-reliance and a high quality of life for all its citizens.
The MW2063 vision aims to transform Malawi into a wealthy and self-reliant industrialised “upper-middle-income country” with an income per capita of $4,000 per citizen by 2063.
Malawians’ resolution, as outlined in the vision reads: “We as Malawians desire and resolve to be an inclusively wealthy and self-reliant industrialised upper middle-income country by the year 2063, so we can fund our development needs primarily by ourselves.
“Our manufacturing industry shall have strong forward and backward linkages with the sectors that will drive it. We shall achieve this vision through collective efforts and shall not allow any State or non-state actor to derail us.”
Among other things, Malawians also want to have a vibrant knowledge-based economy with a strong and competitive manufacturing industry that is driven by a productive and commercially vibrant agriculture and mining sector and world-class urban centres and tourism hubs across the country.
Malawians have also resolved to be united, peaceful, patriotic and proud people that believe in their own abilities and are active participants in building their nation, want effective governance systems and institutions with strict adherence to the rule of law.
They also want the private sector to be dynamic and vibrant, creating jobs and exporting quality products to foreign markets, international standard economic infrastructure, a globally competitive and highly motivated human resource and an environmentally sustainable economy.
At community and household level, Malawians want to have minimum level of socioeconomic amenities aimed at providing a good quality of life for all. They also want to have available, accessible and reliable electricity; access to tarmac roads; reliable and available clean piped water; available and accessible technical and vocational training centres; full connection to internet services; and decent housing for all.
“While benchmarking to international standards, when these basic minimums are met, we shall know that we are on the road to the realisation of the aspiration of an inclusively wealthy and self-reliant society by 2063,” reads the vision document. All these are expected to be achieved through home-grown solutions and locally generated resources.
“Our aspiration in this vision is to shift our thinking and approach to begin believing in our own ideas and home-grown solutions. For a long time, we have relied on development aid and credit to finance our development programmes.
“Our desire is to develop and implement resource mobilization efforts that will enable the country to create its own wealth and only borrow for investments with high economic returns,” reads the vision document.
The year 2063 was specifically targeted because the country will have attained 100 years of self-governance. It also signifies long and selfless planning across generations.
“The focus is no longer ‘what is in it for me’ but ‘what is in it for our children and their children’” reads the vision document. “We desire that, by 2063, our children shall have attained true economic freedom and development. They shall walk tall in the corridors of the global economy while no longer relying on the goodwill of others to survive and thrive,” reads the document.
The vision is also pinned on mindset change among Malawians, including policy makers and advocates for a change in the national development narrative from focusing on poverty reduction to emphasising wealth creation.
For the vision to be successful, it requires endless political will and a strong commitment to a fresh transformational agenda and expects the country’s leadership to be “visionary and transformative” instead of being bent on “commercialisation of politics”.
“Our political leaders must not be obsessed with power but put the needs of Malawians first using the authority given to them on trust by the people to develop the country to its full potential,” reads the MW2063 vision document.
For citizens, the MW2063 vision expects them to have a positive mindset built around values of national consciousness such as unity, patriotism, hard work, integrity, self-help and hating hand-outs.
Malawians themselves will have to take charge of the transformation process. Action and getting things done is what will make a difference in the implementation of MW2063 and changing the course of Malawi’s development.
As Chakwera stated when he opened the National Development Conference in August 2020, in matters of national development, talk is cheap. “Building a new Malawi is a task for our hands, not for our lips. We already know what kind of nation we must build. What we lack is a national resolve to move these things from our shelves and conference tables and turn them into reality,” the President said.