Despite registering positive strides in 2017, Malawi’s economy is still ranked poorly in terms of both real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth and GDP per capita compared with most of its regional counterparts.
Capital Hill indicated that the local economy is recovering and was expected to grow by 6.10 percent in 2017 due to favourable weather pattern, which spar agriculture production and a downward trend in inflation.
As of 2016, Malawi’s GDP in dollar terms stood at $5 billion compared to $11 billion for Mozambique, $16 billion for Zimbabwe, $21 billion for Zambia and $47 billion for Tanzania.
UK-based Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) has projected that the economy will slow down by 0.3 percentage points. This is against its forecast of 4.4 percent in 2017.
The World Bank on the other hand has predicted the local economy to grow by 4.5 percent this year, a figure lower than most countries sharing borders with Malawi with an exception of Mozambique, but whose GDP per capita stand is still much higher.
Economist, Gilbert Kachamba, said the Malawi economy should grow by at least seven percent annually in the next five years or so if it is to beat its pears.
“If we look at the GDP per capita in the Southern Africa Development Community region, we are the lowest with something around $292 and the second lowest is at $401 while the highest is at $15,000. So, this is evidence that in the region, we are the poorest,” Kachamba said.
He recommended heavy investment in the private sector and boosting the export base, if the economy is to grow substantially.
Comparatively, the Bank of Zambia projected a 4.3 percent growth in 2017 and 5.1 percent in 2018, due to improved agriculture and mining output, and a recovery in electricity generation
Tanzania’s economic growth is expected to be stable at 7.1 percent in 2017 supported by expected rebound of the global economy, continued improvement in power supply and implementation of major infrastructural projects. The country is projected to register a 7.3 percent growth in 2018
The World Bank projected that the Mozambique economy is likely to grow by 4.6 percent in 2017, but revised down to 1.2 percent and 1.5 percent for 2018 and 2019 from 1.3 percent and 1.7 percent previously.
Zimbabwe is expected to slow down to 3.5 percent in 2018 from an estimated 3.7 percent in 2017, according to its central bank.