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World Bank tips Malawi, others

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The World Bank has said Malawi and other Sub Saharan Africa countries face a long road to economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Bretton Woods institution has since warned countries against letting their guard down, saying the Covid-19 pandemic is not yet over although there has been a slowdown in new recorded cases.

In its Africa Pulse report released last week, the bank says Malawi and other African countries need sound economic policies to pave the road to recovery.

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World Bank Chief Economist for the Africa region, Albert Zeufack, said creating more and inclusive jobs could be critical in ensuring a fast-paced recovery.

“The road to recovery may be long, and it may be steep, but prioritising policy actions and investments that address the challenge of creating more, better and inclusive jobs will pave the way for a faster, stronger and inclusive recovery for African countries,” Zeufack.

The bank says a desired road to recovery is one that delivers jobs and economic transformation, which are the keys to sustained, inclusive, and resilient growth. Creating more, better, and inclusivejobs can be achieved through digital transformation, sectoral reallocation, and spatial integration.

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It adds that creating jobs would require a decisive shift from exporting raw materials to greater value addition and intra-Africa value chains.

“Reforms to foster market contestability, foreign trade, and foreign direct investment, as well as participation in global value chains, could expose African firms to greater competition. However, as global trade takes time to recover, policy makers in the region need to promote the development of regional value chains while they build the foundations and capabilities needed for a more comprehensive continental involvement.

“The AfCFTA has an important role to play by reducing the production costs associated with tariffs, non-tariff barriers, and trade facilitation problems. Regulatory reforms and capacity building in the institutions that enforce the treaty’s obligations are critical,” the African Pulse says.

The report further notes that enhancing rural-urban and inland-coastal connectivity and investing in cities would raise agricultural productivity and reallocate resources to more efficient job-creating locations.

The World Bank says well-functioning cities are the cradle of innovation and the higher productivity tradable industrialand service sectors. Boosting agricultural productivity and improving living conditions in rural areas—including food security—will play a critical role.

“Digital platforms offer producers and consumers greater connectivity, improve efficiency, and lead to greater transparency in the food logistics system. And investment planning across urban and rural areas requires scaling up infrastructure spending—particularly, enhancing access to basic infrastructure services,” reads the report in part.

The World Bank’s Africa Pulse report comes at a time the Tonse Government has just clocked 100 days on Monday and is in the process of laying the foundation of its transformation agenda.

Among others, the Tonse Government led by President Lazarus Chakwera and Vice President Saulos Chilima seeks to create one million jobs in the first one year.

Briefing reporters on Monday, Chakwera said he is confident that the seeds the Tonse Government has planted in this season will yield the fruit of national transformation in the long run.

“I believe that these seeds of good governance are the key to unlocking our capacity forex ponential development and prosperity.

“What remains now is for all of us to galvanise every human and natural resource we have and ensure that these seeds are watered and nurtured. In due season, we will reap a bountiful harvest, if we do not lose heart,” Chakwera said.

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