Majority of Malawians who live in grinding poverty remain trapped in a in a world without prospects as the gap between rich and poor has widened sharply, a report on Malawi Growth and Development Strategy II (MGDS II) has indicated.
“Under MDGS II Malawi has not achieved the poverty reduction conistsent with her international commitments represented by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) either. Poverty remained high and a predominantly rural phenomenom,” state the report.
Like its predecessor, the MGDS I, it was formulated to meet the United Nation’s (UN) Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) now replaced by Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
MGDS II has been implemented under three regimes. The first Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) led by late president Bingu wa Mutharika, the Peoples Party (PP) under former president Joyce Banda and the second DPP led by Peter Mutharika.
The report indicates that headcount poverty – proportion of population the lives below the poverty libe defined by World Bank as when a person survives on less than a dollar a a day (K1,300) – remained largely unchanged at 40.2
The MGDS II strategy had six thematic areas, namely sustainable economic growth, social development, social support and disaster risk management, infrastructure development, governance and gender and capacity development.
The strategy had nine key priority areas, namely agriculture and food security; energy, industrial development, mining and tourism; transport infrastructure and Nsanje World Inland Port; education, science and technology; public health, sanitation, malaria and HIV and Aids management; integrated rural development; Green Belt Irrigation and water development; child development, youth development and empowerment and climate change, natural resources and environmental management.
Under period of review industries were not created and the existing ones were incapacitated due to economic challenges. The kwacha was devalued and the gutter lived in grinding poverty and want. Eplepitic electicity woes continue, a setback to industrial development.
The Nsanje World Inland Port remains a white elephant. Not much was done under the Green Belt Initiative and water development .
The private sector participation was compromised due to economic challenges. Job creation was also a challenge. Government, which is the main employer, failed to recruit some trained young professionals and unemployment rate is still high.
University of Malawi’s Chancellor College-based economist Ben Kalua attributed poor financing of key priority areas as reasons for strategy failure.
“There is need to come up with realistic assumptions when developing national development plans such as MDGs.
“Funding should also be commensurate with the assumption envisaged, but it would seem there was a mismatch between the assumptions and funding,” said Kalua in quotes reported by The Nation newspaper on Friday January 6, 2017.
And commenting on the report, an editorial comment in the influential daily newspaper The Nation says ‘Malawi must change the way it does business.”
“The bottom line is that unless the leadership takes charge of the development agaenda, this country will continue to chun out strategies that leave the country worse off than it was,” reads the comment.
The paper says Malawi should do away with a culture of impunity and change the way government does things around Capital Hill and through its offices nationwide.
Malawi cannot go on like this and expect to have better standatds of living, pointed out the daily in its conclusion of the editorial.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :