By Taonga Sabola:
The World Bank has said Malawi and other sub Saharan countries need to put in place actions that boost productivity in the agriculture sector, foster rural development, and create jobs for the youth bulge that is joining the labour force if they are to combat extreme poverty.
This is according to the latest Africa Pulse report the bank released on Tuesday.
The report comes at a time about 50.7 percent of Malawians remain poor with 20.1 percent languishing in extreme poverty.
According to the report, 82 percent of people in the sub Sharan region live in rural areas, earning their living primarily from subsistence farming.
It says informal labour makes up 75 percent of total employment.
“The low productivity of farms, firms, and workers in the informal sector is partly explained by poor access to information on input, knowledge, and output markets.
“Radical technological change and adoption are needed to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030, as business-as-usual methods are largely insufficient to achieve this goal,” the bank says.
The report says digital technologies could help propel the growth of Sub Saharan economies, including Malawi.
It says digital technologies help to alleviate information asymmetry problems and improve communication.
“They can reduce search costs and potentially improve market efficiency. Mobile phones may help reduce informatonal barriers for consumers, producers, and traders and facilitate learning about prices.
Other mobile applications may also reduce demand uncertainty and coordination costs by improving the flow of information. For instance, mobile phones can help farmers, traders, and firms to identify potential buyers (suppliers) for their products in an expanded geographic area,” the report says.
It adds that digital technologies have dramatically reduced the cost of private and public transfers and payments relative to traditional methods.
World Bank says mobile phones have provided a platform for electronic transfers that have reduced the transaction costs of sending and receiving money.