British High Commissioner to Malawi David Beer and Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office acting Chief Economist Nick Lea have said Malawi needs to focus on export-led growth to realise its dream of achieving middle-income economy status by 2030.
Beer and Lea were speaking in Lilongwe on Wednesday during a high-level policy discussion on the opportunities for Malawi in the Malawi 2063, First 10-Year Implementation Plan.
“So, we need to make Malawi a more attractive investment destination than other countries so that we can pull in investment and we can grow the economy and that growth has to be export-dominated. This is what will create long-term sustainable jobs and incomes,” Beer said.
Delivering a keynote address during the roundtable, Lea said countries that have succeeded economically have done so through growing jobs, productivity and exports.
He said the private sector needed to play a critical role in the process.
“Export-led growth is the only way through which Malawi can escape poverty. Foreign exchange earned from exports is critical for your modernisation. The only way you can modernise is by buying technology from the rest of the world and using that technology to transform your production. But how can you buy from the rest of the world without forex?
“So earning foreign exchange is a key long-term driver of growth,” Lea said.
Secretary for Economic Planning and Development Winford Masanjala said the government acknowledged that the private sector would be very key in helping Malawi realise its aspirations.
Masanjala said some private sector players had not lived up to their billing of being the engine for economic growth, adding that, instead of helping the government with its production agenda, they were busy scrambling for government procurement business.