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Insight: A national programme for the year 2016

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We must make a definite commitment that Malawi is or ought to be a developmental and entrepreneurial state. That is a state with an abiding policy for development, political, economical and social. Moreover, that the state shall have the attributes of an entrepreneur taking calculated risks and always looking forward.

An entrepreneur is a businessperson. A conventional businessperson takes stock of his business at the end of the business or financial year to assess how he has performed.

Has he made profits, if so how? Has he suffered losses if so why? He then draws up a fresh strategy for the business. This is what as a nation we should do jointly, the public and private sector.

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Before drawing up a plan for the next financial year, the businessperson asks where should I take it to? That is the objective and goal for the business. He then devises the methods and pools together the resources for reaching the goals.

When Napoleon Hill wrote his book Think and Grow Rich, he was advising individuals. But as we know the total wealth of individuals adds up to national wealth. As a corollary, therefore, a nation that wants to be rich must think. Has it not been said think before you leap?

A successful person in any field never shies away from borrowing ideas from others. A nation too should not be too proud to imitate others mutatis mutandis. From here where do we go?

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In the African Business magazine of January 2016, page 36, K.Y. Amoako founder and president of the African Centre for Economic Transformation Speaks of economic transformation. He accepts that each country’s circumstance is different. All the same his centre through research has defined a baseline approach to transformation strategies. That baseline he calls Growth with Depth.

Recognising that growth is necessary but that growth alone will not sustain gains to GROWTH he adds DEPTH which is an acronym. The D stands for diversification of production and exports, the E for export competitiveness the P for productivity gains the T for technological advances and the H for human well-being brought about by expanding formal employment and raising incomes. We are informed that sub-segment articles will look at each aspect in detail.

The year 2015 has been marked by untold sufferings. Extreme droughts followed by flush floods, food scarcities in half the districts of the country. While floods and droughts are elements of nature beyond our control something lacking on our part contributed to the impact of these natural disasters. Our approach to the development of the country has been lackadaisical.

Multiparty democracy and regular general elections are highly desirable. But they do introduce the spirit of short termism which is inimical to long lasting development. The party in power and leader concentrate on undertaking projects with short term gestation periods because these are the ones which attract if not hoodwink voters. We shall give you subsidies on agricultural infants, dig boreholes, solicit or buy food for hungry districts and people and so on.

Since gaining the multiparty dispensation there has been much talk about irrigation and tourism while action has been half-hearted and symbolic results very impressive. From the year 2016 let us budge for optimum materials and manpower concerning irrigation and tourism schemes.

The late Lee Kuan Yew, first prime minister of Singapore said whenever he conceived undertaking a project which in another country had been successful, he would send one of his technocrats to that country to learn how that had been achieved.

Achieving national food security has been a priority since we gained independence but success eludes us. In the 2015 Ecama Communiqué it is recommended that agriculture should be commercialized by among other things grabbing land from smallholders and giving it to capitalist investors. I would recommend that committee of technocrats should be sent to those Asian countries which despite high densities of population have attained the Green Revolution. Both the ends and means should be justifiable.

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