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IMF cautions on Malawi Growth and Development Strategy III

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has cautioned that Malawi will need more financing and private sector engagement so as to support flagship investments under the much-awaited Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS) III.
Flagship investments under the economic blueprint include agriculture, water development and climate change management, education and skills development, energy, industry and tourism development, transport and ICT infrastructure, among others.
The comment from IMF comes two weeks after some civil society organisations—led by the Malawi Economic Justice Network (Mejn)— queried the government on the delay to launch the strategy, when all paperwork was completed last year.
IMF Malawi Resident Representative, Jack Ree, said the country should avoid unraveling macroeconomic stability, which the institution feels is still fluid.
He, however, said the challenge would be how to further align investment with available financing, a development, which may require further prioritisation among the current flag projects.
“Attention should be paid to the effectiveness of spending. In that respect, continued fight against leakages in public finance management will be key, including in the area of procurement,” he said.
According to Ree, the success of MDGS III will hinge on how much the Malawi Government can unlock private and donor investment flows as well as having strong and ambitious structural reforms.
“Let’s not forget what we have just gone through. We had lost control of fundamentals and this resulted in a painful, long-term spell of 20 percent range inflation and collapse of confidence. We should not allow a backsliding at this point,” Ree said.
But, in a separate interview, spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Davis Sado, said MGDS III is designed to spur growth and remove barriers to development for the next five years.
“This is also the final strategy that will take Malawi to the realisation of Vision 2020. The strategy is now at the printing level stage and some of the copies have been submitted to the government and its partners, as they think of the launch date,” he said.
Recently, Mejn Executive Director, Dalitso Kubalasa, said the government needs to fast-tract such a project since Malawi has lost a year without a tangible guiding strategy for social economic development activities.
“A blueprint like MGDS III should be taken seriously by operationalising the plan for a better Malawi,” Kubalasa said.
The strategy, which would be the social-economic development blueprint for Malawi between now and 2022, is yet to be launched by authorities.

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