President Peter Mutharika Friday unveiled consultations for Vision 2063 which will see National Planning Commission (NPC) engaging Malawians for two months on what needs to be incorporated in the long-term development blueprint.
Vision 2063, which succeeds Vision 2020, is expected to be launched in October 2020, all things being equal.
Mutharika said, following the launch of the consultations, it is up to Malawians to decide what they want their country to be 40 years from now.
He said Vision 2020 achieved many things although the country should have achieved more.
“Since we launched Vision 2020, we have developed and implemented programmes, policies and strategies that have reduced poverty and improved the quality of life of our people. In the past 20 years, we have reduced maternal and child mortality rates.
“In the past 20 years, we have reduced the impact of HIV and Aids. Today, more of our people are living longer than before because we have Universal Access to Anti-Retroviral Treatment. Over the past 20 years, we have increased life expectancy,” Mutharika said.
He said, despite the achievements of Vision 2020, many Malawians still live in poverty while the economy is still weak.
“We are still importing and consuming more than we can produce and export. We have not yet industrialised. Our people need better health and agriculture services. Our children need more schools.
“So today, as we stand in the middle ground between the past 20 years and the next 40 years, we need to ask ourselves how we can do things right that we have done wrong in the past period. There are many things we need to change. We need to change from focusing on poverty reduction to inclusive wealth creation and self-reliance,” Mutharika said.
He said Malawians need to work even harder to move to economic independence where all Malawians live decent lives without waiting for donations or handouts from anyone.
NPC Chairperson Richard Mkandawire said the commission does not have the magic wand to develop an effective long-term plan for Malawians saying the answers to Malawi’s development lie with each and every Malawian.
“We, as a people collectively, should be creators of our own development destiny. We have to think positively and innovatively to achieve the development that we aspire,” Mkandawire said.
He observed that the commission started the preliminary consultations a couple of years back, adding that two main issues seem to be emerging this far.
According to Mkandawire, Malawians want a vision that is transformational focusing more on inclusive wealth creation and self-reliance as well as a vision that looks at the period up to 2063.
“The proposed inclusive wealth creation vision is enshrined in our belief that no nation or household is able to sustain its socio-economic transformation through exclusive reliance on external handouts. If Malawi is to join the leagues of Rising African Nations, it must take advantage of external funding in building a strong developmental State that creates wealth for all.
“Public private partnerships that are committed to balancing economic growth and social development will be key towards the envisaged wealth creation for all vision,” Mkandawire said.
Giving a summary of Vision 2020 review, Chancellor College economics professor, Winford Masanjala, said Vision 2020 failed to deliver the required outcomes because the economy grew at a slower pace than anticipated.
Masanjala said, for Malawi to become a middle-income economy, the country needed to register growth rates averaging nine percent per annum but only achieved rates averaging 4.9 percent.
He added that the country needed to move the per capita income from $278 to above $1,000 to achieve middle-income status.
Masanjala said, since the dissolution of National Economic Council, there was no institution to champion the implementation of Vision 2020, adding that there was a lack of monitoring system to track progress of the vision.
First Deputy Speaker of Parliament Madalitso Kazombo said there is no reason Malawi should remain poor, arguing that the country is blessed with plenty of natural resources and hard-working people.
A synopsis of Malawi Vision 2020, a developmental framework reflecting the long-term aspirations of Malawians proposed 20 years ago, reads: “By the year 2020, Malawi as a God-fearing nation will be secure, democratically mature, environmentally sustainable, self-reliant with equal opportunities for and active participation by all, having social services, vibrant cultural and religious values and being technologically driven middle-income economy.”
However, a review exercise of the ambitious plan validated in November last year by NPC shows that despite Malawi making progress in some indicators during the implementation period, the country has failed to meet most of the targets with the performance rated under par and below the world’s average in some instances.