Shaping post-Covid recovery for Malawi


By Edith Jiya:

As governments around the world grapple with the responsibility of rebuilding their economies and reconstructing a world post- Covid, the role of the private sector is central in driving key partnerships to collaboratively re-imagine a sustainable future that will be beneficial to us all.

In 2020, every aspect of our lives was challenged and we continue to be faced with the enormous and complex challenges of curbing the Covid pandemic, combating climate change, high unemployment levels, limited access to energy and unreliable energy, among other challenges.


The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and firms from global professional services network, led by PwC, have joined forces to come up with private sector initiatives and finance strategies to help with the socio-economic recovery following Covid.

This is a great example of collaboration and represents a global public-private partnership that can shape and execute a comprehensive response to Covid aimed at laying the foundation for long-term partnerships that will enable transformational change.

Maria Jose Torres Macho, the United Nations Resident Coordinator for Malawi, stated, at the inaugural Old Mutual partnership Conversation Series, that the UN is working towards ‘Beyond the Aid’ agenda in Africa and advised that Malawi’s private sector should consider looking at less risk-averse and more risk-tolerant business models if we were to rebuild and progress as economies and build more resilient economies with lessons learnt from the Covid pandemic.


McKinsey and Co have optimistically noted that the Covid crisis “contains the seeds of a large-scale imagination of Africa’s economic structure, service delivery systems and social contract. The crisis is accelerating vital trends such as digitalisation, market consolidation and regional cooperation, and is creating important new opportunities”.

Despite the challenges, the World Bank predicts growth of 2 percent to 3.4 percent for sub-Saharan Africa in 2021. The rollout of vaccines in some parts of the continent (although uncomfortably slow) heralds the promise of taming future resurgences of the virus and its eventual conquest and paving the way for economic growth.

Across the region, governments and the private sector have partnered and already made significant investments to keep their economies afloat while protecting their people.

The post-pandemic recovery should collectively leverage these investments to create a more resilient and prosperous continent. A continent ready for sustainable growth.

As the impact of our large-scale partnerships trickle down, we will need to elevate legacy partnerships and simultaneously forge ahead with new collaborations too. However, the manner in which we work and live sustainably will need to change.

Old Mutual Malawi has consistently shaped, maintained and relied upon partnerships and strong relationship with government, non-governmental organisations, industry formations and the communities we serve to deliver our promise to our customers. The view is that if relationships are strategically aligned and results are mutually beneficial then collaboratively shaping tangible results and outcomes happens organically.

The Old Mutual Malawi Partnership Conversation Series attended by stakeholders from government, business and civil society is a recent example of a platform created for fruitful engagement. Old Mutual, as a thought leader and catalyst of these conversations, is aiming at providing a platform for outcomes-based dialogue to provide practical solutions to issues and opportunities in Malawi.

One of Old Mutual (Malawi)’s unique responses to the Covid pandemic was though its subsidiary Mpico plc, a property holding company with a rich heritage in Malawian society.

Mpico plc has been a member of the Old Mutual group working together collaboratively for the betterment of Malawi society since 1972.Almost every Malawian city dweller has, at some point in their lives, stepped into a building owned or managed by Mpico plc.

In 2007, the Government of Malawi decided to offload its shareholding in Mpico Limited through an initial public offering (IPO) leading to the company getting listed on the Malawi Stock Exchange.

The Gateway Shopping Mall in Lilongwe, completed in 2014, is one of the most notable properties Mpico plc owns and manages — joining other beautiful structures such as Gemini House, Old Mutual House, Mpico House in Blantyre, Development House along Victoria Avenue in Blantyre and many others.

The legacy partnership between the Government of Malawi, Old Mutual (Malawi) Limited and Mpico plc is one that spans almost two centuries and one that has changed form and function over the years but has managed to withstand many changes in the political, economic and social landscape of Malawi.

This is just one of the sustainable collaborations Old Mutual in Malawi can showcase. In more recent times, Old Mutual has taken steps to partner a number of businesses within the financial sector and even in other sectors. Record of Old Mutual’s contribution is there to be showcased.

Old Mutual Malawi is geared to support key drivers of the national plan and in order to achieve Vision 2063, there needs to be specific focus areas. Crucial areas of economic growth like infrastructure development, specific private-public partnerships to support small scale businesses, education and job creation are of paramount importance.

The private sector needs to understand that what is good for Malawi is good for them. Through fostering partnerships and scaling the positive impact of the private sector, the economy is stimulated. Progressive partnerships and programmes are enablers of innovation – this is known to be key to Malawi’s post Covid recovery together with remaining relevant in a technologically transforming world.

This is a time of great change and rebirth globally and presents an opportune time to act decisively towards recovery. This is a time all stakeholders in the private sector have contributed to this recovery plan for the benefit of a better, more sustainable future for Malawi.

The author is Group CEO for Old Mutual Malawi

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