By Rabecca Chimjeka:
The World Bank has challenged Malawi to consider adopting radical steps to stem cases of corruption and other challenges that are derailing development efforts.
The Bretton Woods institution said the government should also work towards taming its appetite for borrowing, addressing budget expenditure overruns, energy inefficiencies and improving the business operating environment.
World Bank Country Manager, Greg Toulmin, made the observation at the launch of the 9th Malawi Economic Monitor (Mem) in Lilongwe on Tuesday.
This comes as a recent study by the Global Finance Magazine of the United States ranked Malawi the fourth the poorest country in the world.
The country has a population of 17.5 million people and nearly 70 percent live below the income poverty line of $1.90 per day, with poverty concentrated in rural areas, where 95 percent of the poor live.
Ironically, corruption remains rampant, eventually fueling poverty.
Toulmin said Malawi needed a decisive leadership that would promote bold policies to build on progress and ensure effective use of limited resources.
“Malawi has experienced a sharp increase in public debt since it benefitted from the heavily Indebted Poor Countries’ and Multilateral Debt Relief initiatives in 2006”, Toulmin said.
Toulmin said this has resulted in high cost of servicing debt, leaving less room for sustainable economic growth.
He said Malawi’s challenges were immense, as was in Rwanda and Ethiopia, which have turned a corner through strong political commitment, the right investment, focus and policy coordination.
National Planning Commission Executive Director, Thomas Munthali, said the commission would use recommendations made in the report in developing the next development plan.