President Lazarus Chakwera Wednesday laid the foundation for Malawi’s long-term development strategy, the Mw2063—in which Malawi aspires to be an upper-middle-income economy—when he delivered the State of the Nation Address (Sona) in Parliament at the start of the 49th Session of the august House.
Unpacking the roadmap for the long-term vision, Chakwera said Malawi would, in the next four years, focus on three priority areas of achieving permanent food security, job creation for the youth and wealth creation.
In his Sona, titled ‘Accelerating the Change Malawians Fought For’, which lasted for close to two hours, the Malawi leader said it was the wish of his administration to create jobs for the country’s youths so that they become self-reliant, active and productive contributors to Malawi’s development.
“Put simply, the three-pronged yardstick by which we will measure either the urgency or agency of any government policy or programme or project we will be presenting before this House is whether it puts meals on the tables of Malawians, money in the pockets of Malawians and work in the hands of Malawians,” Chakwera said.
He was quick to note that government ministries, departments and agencies that are integral to the realisation of development outcomes would be given a lion’s share.
During the Sona, Chakwera also presented a ‘State of Change’ in the Legislature, Judiciary, Executive, Citizenry and other areas of governance.
Chakwera also outlined the performance of sectors of the economy such as agriculture, health, transport and mining.
Among other things, Chakwera said he expected the economy to grow by 3.8 percent this year, down from the earlier projection of 6.1 percent, largely due to the Covid pandemic.
He was, however, confident that growth in 2022 would accelerate to 5.4 percent, buoyed by a rebound in manufacturing, transport, construction as well as wholesale and retail sectors.
National Planning Commission (NPC) Director-General Thomas Munthali said it was encouraging that Chakwera had prioritised the Mw2063 in his Sona.
“The President has, in his Sona, demonstrated that he takes Malawi 2063 as a priority. That is why he concentrated on Malawi that Malawians want to see by 2063,” Munthali said.
European Union Deputy Head of Delegation Aurelie Valvat described the Sona as comprehensive, saying Chakwera tackled critical areas such as agriculture, governance, health and public sector reforms.
But opposition representative Bright Msaka described Chakwera’s Sona as a lost opportunity, saying the President failed to articulate to Malawians how many of the Tonse campaign promises had been fulfilled.