Sosten Gwengwe upbeat on gross domestic product growth projection
Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Sosten Gwengwe has expressed hope that coordinated efforts between the government, development partners and the private sector towards mitigating the impact of Cyclone Freddy will help Malawi in achieving the 2.7 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth projection this year.
On Tuesday, Gwengwe inspected bridges and roads that were damaged due to the cyclone in Chikwawa, Thyolo and Mulanje districts in the company of officials from the National Roads Authority and the Roads Fund Administration to appreciate the extent of the damage.
He indicated that the plan is to coordinate all the support being received and use it to accelerate recovery.
“Building back is going to be very expensive and we are now doing the costing but, also, we are reaching out to our partners such as the World Bank, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) and other partners who are willing to help Malawi,” Gwengwe said.
But in a recent interview, Executive Director for the Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama) Frank Chikuta said the damage is apparently huge and will have significant socioeconomic impacts.
“The government has declared a ‘state of disaster’ in the affected areas which is also an indication of the magnitude of the tragedy in our midst. The immediate economic impact is on the disruption to economic activity as people try to come to terms with the tragic loss of lives and livelihoods, damaged infrastructure in the form of roads and power supply, sanitary infrastructure and other related utilities.
“The other impact is on public finances as the government implements search and rescue operations, rehabilitation and rebuilding of livelihoods and infrastructure. Ultimately, economic growth is also likely going to be negatively affected,” Chikuta said.
He was quick to suggest that the government should quickly mobilise resources and technical expertise to help in the rebuilding process.
In a separate interview, agriculturalist Tamani Nkhono Mvula said projections for growth in the agriculture sector alone will not be achievable considering crop fields that were affected by the cyclone, let alone challenges in implementation of the Affordable Inputs Programme.