Malawi, like most African countries, needs a paradigm shift in approach to prosperity and economic growth, focusing not only on poverty reduction but sustainable wealth creation.
This was the general view of speakers and delegates to the three-day Institute of Chartered Accountants in Malawi (Icam) Annual Lake Conference which ended on Saturday in Mangochi District.
It comes as the country is ranked among the poorest of the world, with around 70 percent of its population living below the international poverty line $1.90 per day.
In 2018, Gross Domestic Product per capita was around $381, falling short by over $600 to reach the lower middle-income target of $1000
Economists say if Malawi is to grow by around 7 percent each year, it will reach the middle income status around 2034, about 15 years from now, if population growth rate is at replacement level.
At the epitome of the indaba, Kenyan Pan-Africanist and eloquent lawyer, Patrick Lumumba challenged the accountants to be part of the regional development equation.
He spoke on Harmonising Africa’s Resources for Africa’s Development; from Third World to first.
Speaking earlier when opening the conference, High Court Judge Zione Ntaba, the country is faced with economic challenges whose solutions would emanate from natives sons and daughters.
Ntaba said it was necessary, therefore, that as economic transformation is taking place in Africa, Malawi also makes its mark and harmonise its human and natural resources to be a great player in the development of Africa.
“It is imperative that Africa must now trade within herself. Trade and economic pundits are saying that Malawi must do business with countries in Africa. Malawi must export more to the world and import less.
“This is one way of growing the economy. Malawi must also export professional labour to the world. Therefore, it is time that we examined what we are best at and this is where every professional in Malawi must help out,” Ntaba told the delegates.
Icam president, Joel Mwenelupembe, said if the country is to reshape its economic growth strides it needs to transcend beyond the traditional approaches.
“Collaboration is now the surest means to economic progress,” Mwenelupembe said.
In his presentation, National Planning Commission Director General, Thomas Munthali, said going forward, Malawi needs a new narrative—from poverty reduction to ‘spearheading wealth creation for all’ and it should be beyond the survival basics to higher ‘wealth’ levels.