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‘Political situation to smother economy’

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By Taonga Sabola:

Economic analysts have said post-election demonstrations are slowly hurting the fragile economy.

Since Malawi went to the polls on May 21 this year, civil society groups under Human Rights Defenders Coalition have organised two rounds of demonstrations with the third round set to take place later.

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The demonstrations have seen businesses closing before time as they attempt to stay away from the protesters.

Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama) President, Chikumbutso Kalilombe, said Sunday that the local economy is small and, therefore, easily affected by the protests.

“The economy is really suffering from these demonstrations and, being a small one, the impact is immense. We have seen from the recent ones that businesses have been affected and this has extended even to service industries like banks and even operations of international organisations.

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“We thus hope for a quick resolution to the current political situation as that will allow for more certainty going forward.

“However, we still believe that for long term considerations we have not yet reached a stage where the country could be described as perpetually politically unstable. This is a crisis that most hope will be resolved within the short term,” Kalilombe said.

Catholic University Dean of Social Sciences, Gilbert Kachamba, concurred with Kalilombe.

“However, the exact extent of the damage to the economy is hard to tell,” Kachamba said.

He said the demonstrations could also affect the flow of tourists and foreign investors g into the country.

“Our economy is yet to recover from the effects of Cyclone Idai and you can see that the impact would be huge if we don’t treat these demonstrations carefully,” Kachamba said.

In his message on Independence Day, President Pater Mutharika urged Malawians to respect the rule of law for the sake of peace in the country.

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