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Malawi growth volatile—World Bank

The World Bank has described Malawi’s economic growth as volatile observing the country faces repeated shocks from natural disasters such as floods, droughts and in recent times, Cyclone Idai.

World Bank Country Representative, Bellah Bird, made the observation at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre on Wednesday during an audience with President Peter Mutharika.

She said economic mismanagement is also a major issue, saying combined with the natural phenomenon, the impact is proving to be worse.

“If you look at Malawi’s growth path over a couple of decades, it is characterised by quite volatile growth, some periods of quite good growth of around five percent, and then repeated shocks.

“It is not only shocks that come from natural phenomenon or whether events, it’s also the way the economy is managed and if there is any mismanagement of the economy and combined with shocks the impact can really be worse,” she said.

Bird then urged the country to embark on a sustainable growth path, and manage the natural shocks and the devastation that come with them.

But on his part, Mutharika described the country’s economic trajectory as progressive, citing the reduced inflation and interest rates as some key indicators.

He said his administration was geared to surmount every challenge to develop and transform the country adding his top priority is job creation.

“Our goal now is to focus on growth. We have taken Malawi out of an economic crisis, achieved macro-economic stability and inspired economic growth without donor budgetary support. We like taking Malawi to economic autonomy,” Mutharika said.

He added: “We want to produce more goods and create more jobs in rural industrialization. And we want to develop industrial parks as part of this strategy.”

Responding to issues of job creation, Bird challenged the Malawi Government to work on growing the private sector to create job opportunities for young people in the country.

She observed that country’s population is growing at an alarming, thus saying there is need for creating a conducive environment in which the labour market can absorb all the youths that are introduced to the labour market every year.

“Malawi needs to pick up in terms of economic growth, to keep up with the population growth rate but also to high enough to create the kind of jobs and revenue that the country needs. The kind of growth for men and women and also young people who are coming into the labor market and it’s the private sector which should provide those opportunities,” she said.

According to Bird, 200,000 young people are introduced into the labour market in Malawi every year.

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