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‘Malawi’s growth too low to impact poverty’

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The World Bank has said Malawi has not grown its economy enough to significantly reduce poverty rates or make strong progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In its Country Climate and Development Report released on Thursday, the World Bank says from 2000 to 2020, Malawi grew its gross domestic product (GDP) by an average of almost 6.5 percent per year, but population growth in that same period averaged almost 3.6 percent, translating into a per capita GDP growth rate which averaged a much more modest 1.5 percent per year.

According to the bank, although by both measures, Malawi outperformed sub- Saharan Africa as a whole, economic growth was not sufficient to reduce poverty.

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“The share of the population living below the international poverty line dropped from 68.4 to 65.7 percent between 2010 and 2016 but increased to 70.1 percent in 2019.

“Similarly, data on progress toward the SDGs show that Malawi faces major challenges in achieving 10 of the 15 goals and is only on track to achieve four—two of them because its energy use and consumption rates are very low,” the bank said.

According to the bank, Malawi faces significant development challenges, including in governance.

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“There are longstanding and systemic governance failures that have created inefficiencies and enabled corruption, a problem the government elected in 2020 has vowed to correct.

“Weak institutions, lack of transparency, and significant policy uncertainty all undermine the business environment,” the report reads.

Delivering a keynote address during the launch of Legatum Institute’s Pathways to Prosperity – Malawi Case Study Report in Lilongwe recently, National Planning Commission Director General Thomas Munthali admitted that Malawi is developing, but at a worrisomely slow pace.

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