The United Nation is still placing Malawi among the world´s most impoverished and vulnerable countries under the category of the least developed countries (LDCs).
The LCDs according to UN are a group of countries that have been classified as “least developed” in terms of their low gross national income (GNI), their weak human assets and their high degree of economic vulnerability.
The information on UN website complement an interpretation of World Bank data indicating that Malawi ranks top of poorest states in the world.
Malawi government spokesman and Information Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa has admitted that Malawi is a poor country, but not the poorest in the world, saying the media houses has failed to differentiate between Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in US$ currency with GDP per capita in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) terms.
Nankhumwa, who was flanked by Presidential Advisors on Communication and Economic Affairs, Bright Malopa and Dr. Collins Magalasi respectively, told a news conference in Lilongwe that Malawi is indeed “poor, but not the poorest.”
He said: ” We believe the media, especially business journalists have a very crucial task of interpreting data. These issues are quiet different all together, that is why am saying it is very important that as journalists we need to emphasize much on specialized writing or reporting especially in economic reporting and to that effect my ministry is undertaking to get some scholarships which are available now.”
Nankhumwa said it was imperative for the local media to critically distinguish between gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in current dollar terms and GDP per capita on purchasing power parity (PPP) basis before concluding that Malawi is poorest as reported online.
The minister said the current administration is now concentrating on implementing policies that are designed towards increasing income levels among rural dwellers and enhancing agriculture productivity per unit of land as a way of eradicating poverty.
Nankhumwa also said government is investing hugely in energy and also hopes to improve access to finance by small business operators which, he said, would see the cost of doing business in Malawi easing
Magalasi described poverty measure as a relative process which is broad. But he said overall Malawi is doing fine on education, child mortality and maternal mortality as stipulated in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The World Bank in a statement said it publishes the World Development Indicators [WDI], which among other data sources, includes statistics on GDP per capita for all countries.
“The latest WDI report is for 2014 and it presents data available in 2013,” said the statement.
The bank further said the intention of WDI is not to rank, but to provide a compilation of relevant, high-quality and internationally comparable statistics about global development and the fight against poverty.
It said the purpose of publishing GDP per capita figures is not to measure poverty but levels of income per capita.
“Comparisons of living standards across countries are best made using both monetary and non-monetary parameters such as Human Development Indicators and the Multidimensional Poverty Index,” said the statement.
The bank further said in quoting the data, the media confuse GDP per capita in current United States dollars with GDP per capita in Purchasing Power Parity.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :