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Think tank points growth challenges

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The Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama) says the country lacks strong and visionary leadership that can stir sustainable economic development.
Ecama has made the observation in its communiqué to members following its Annual General Meeting held in Mangochi last month under the theme ‘Rethinking the Pillars and Structures for Malawi’s Transformative and Inclusive Economic Development’.
The body says poor leadership in the country is manifested when change in government regime is usually followed by a change in focus on development or economic planning goals.
Ecama says the tendency negatively affects long-term development planning as new development strategies are drawn before full implementation of previous ones.
“Going forward, Malawi can develop, firstly, if leaders are visionary and focus on long-term development plans with well-defined and identifiable rolling investment plans.
“And, secondly, the citizens need to organise themselves and take collective action to hold their leaders accountable to implement long- term development policies,” the communiqué reads in part.
According to Ecama, Malawi’s private sector is shrinking and has, of late, been negatively affected by high cost of finance, electricity power outages, corruption, non-effective tax rates, high inflation rates and poor infrastructure services.
“As a suggestion, the conference resolved to advise the government to take advantage of the many existing professional bodies such as Ecama, Marketers Association, Association of Engineers, Institute of Chartered Accountants in Malawi a n d o ther professional bodies to harness ideas specific to sectors. This would, in turn, aid in building a spirit of national service,” Ecama says.
The communiqué also notes that the current level of electricity generation in the country is not adequate to support meaningful private sector growth.
Malawi’s installed capacity of electricity generation is at 351 megawatts (MW) but has currently declined to less than half of total installed capacity, of which 70MW is dedicated to essential services such as referral hospitals and water boards and the remainder is meant for industrial production and domestic use.
“ It is, therefore, imperative for government to put in place long-term policies and strategies that will address the prevailing power supply challenges and even plan for the future energy demand. The government does not necessarily have to invest heavily in the sector because the private sector can ably invest in it,” Ecama says.

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