Renowned economist and former Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of Malawi, Dr Naomi Ngwira, says the Vision 2020, a development plan the Government of Malawi adopted in 1998, failed to achieve the desired results over the years because of what she described as “implementation deficits”.
Ngwira made the sentiments when top-notch enonomists, academicians and civil society leaders who met on Wednesday in the Capital Lilongwe endorsed her as Chairperson for the Core Advisory Panel (CAP) to the National Planning Commission (NPC), a government think tank which has been tasked to develop a new long term development strategy to replace Vision 2020.
The former Central Bank Deputy Governor and this team of experts will be advising NPC in the formulation and implementation of the new plan which will be aligned with Agenda 2063 of the African Union and other regional and global frameworks.
Framers of the Vision 2020, in whose CAP Ngwira also served as one of the initial vice chairpersons, envisioned a Malawi which would have been now a middle income country with improved lifestyle, healthcare, education, agriculture and infrastructure.
Unfortunately, that does not even begin to be the case, a development which has worried many stakeholders including the citizens.
“The implementation of Vision 2020 was not in magnitudes that were required to achieve the desired results of the plan. So even if certain things might have been done, they were inadequate to achieve the quantum expected.
“For instance, if Malawi wanted to be a middle income country, it meant there were supposed to be certain types of investments to achieve that. Unfortunately, these were not done in fullness,” said Ngwira.
Ngwira observed that the youths must be at the core of the formulation and implementation of the new development plan, noting that most experts in the CAP are already senior citizens who will be very old in the next twenty years.
“There is need for young leaders that must be placed at various levels and embrace the new development strategy to move this country forward for the benefit of more young people. Those of us with alot of experience can just support them,” she said.
NPC Board Chairperson, Professor Richard Mkandawire, concurred with Ngwira, saying his commission will indeed consult a cross section of stakeholders including the youths in order to come up with a development plan that encompasses all the aspirations of Malawians.
He described the CAP to NPC as a combination of experienced thought leaders who will guide in charting new pathways of transforming Malawi, particularly in crafting the successor to Vision 2020.
“We need to take into account the uniqueness of our own national development landscape and look at where we need to focus. There are alot of potential successes that we can begin to prioritize for the development of our country.
“Our problem is that we are slow in implementing and executing our plans. We need to see the need for transformation as urgent. There must also be political committment to get things done at every level. Office bearers must be given resources to implement national plans,” said Mkandawire.
Taking his turn, renowned youth activist and Executive Director for Youth and Society, Charles Kajoloweka, welcomed the need for the involvement of the youths in the development and implementation of the Vision 2020 successor, noting that the failure of the strategy will hit the youths most.
“There is frustration and pessimism around because of failure of the Vision 2020. Therefore, we must carefully craft the new vision to ensure that it really fixes the current broken systems.
“Malawians are looking for a development agenda that all of us can rally behind regardless of any affiliations. It should be a new and robust agenda to ensure that it really achieves the expectations of Malawians,” said Kajoloweka, the youngest member so far in the CAP to NPC.
Other notable figures in the CAP include; Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Officer Chancellor Kaferapanjira, renowned civil society leader Macbain Mkandawire, political scientist Henry Chingaipe and engineer Mathews Mtumbuka.