Private sector growth and investment crucial for MW2063’s key enablers to be achieved—Chakwera

At the Malawi Investment Summit which he hosted today, August 7, in Lilongwe, President Lazarus Chakwera said private sector investment and its growth is crucial for MW2063’s key enablers to be achieved.

Chakwera said his administration’s vision is to lay the foundation necessary for putting Malawi firmly on the path towards becoming a middle-income economy that is self-reliant and industrialized.

“To achieve this status, we have resolved to focus on three inter-linked pillars,” he said. “The first is Agricultural Productivity and Commercialization, by which our goal is to achieve food security for Malawians and establish mega farms that produce commercial crops on a mass scale for export to international markets.

President Chakwera chats with Economist Magazine Africa Editor

“The second pillar is Industrialization, by which our goal is to invest in agro-processing plants that create jobs and add value to what we produce to boost trade.

“And the third pillar is Urbanization, by which our goal is both to transform our existing cities with modern socio-economic amenities and create secondary cities and tourism hubs.

“This is a clear vision of what we want to do and why we want to do it. The question we are now confronting is how.

“I am fully persuaded that the key to answering this question is private sector growth and private sector investment, which is why I tag-teamed with the Economist Impact and other partners to organize this conference.”

He emphasized that the goal of the summit is “to concretize and consolidate how Government and public sector should work together to accelerate the economy’s recovery towards the kind of growth and resilience that can bring prosperity to Malawians and withstand external shocks”.

“By our reckoning, building that kind of economy must be preceded by investments in seven key areas we consider to be enablers of growth.

“These enablers include mindset change, effective governance institutions and systems, enhanced public sector performance, human capital development, environmental sustainability, economic infrastructure, and private sector dynamism.”

He added that these are the seven failing organs which must be fixed “to restore health to our ailing macro-economic environment to give it the vitality necessary for achieving the productivity, industrialization, and urbanization we desire”.

“Toward that end, 11 months ago, I launched the MW2063 First 10-Year Implementation Plan (MIP-1) — outlining the initial steps towards restoring health to these vital organs.

“Those steps include a roadmap for graduating Malawi to a lower middle-income nation by 2030 and hitting key milestones on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in this Decade of Action.

“Crucially, the MIP-1 names the flagship programs and projects we will focus on in this decade to accelerate our progress towards economic recovery.”

As such, Chakwera said the MIP-1 is a great entry point for investment and involvement for both local and international investors, an entry point he said invites the technocrats to take full advantage of.

He said the opportunities for investment are plenty, but highlighted some that included MW2063 pillar of Agricultural Productivity and Commercialization, which has the following investment opportunities:

1. Mega-farms for the mass production of such commercial crops as industrial hemp and medical cannabis, edible nuts, legumes, wheat, as well as livestock and fisheries in line with the National Export Strategy, all of which come with additional opportunities for investment in agro-processing, large-scale irrigation, and greenhouses. We are already making progress on seeing the first mega farm started by the end of the year;

2. High quality affordable inputs, modern production technologies, and alternatives to chemical fertilizer;

3. Warehousing facilities to support structured markets; and

4. Agro-forestation and re-afforestation programmes, as well as climate-smart agriculture.

“Under the MW2063 pillar of Industrialization, we have investment opportunities in transport infrastructure, which is why there is no part of the country or this city where you will not find multiple roads under construction, including the greatest investment in rail and the rehabilitation of the M1 in the democratic era.”

On restoration of health to the macro-economic environment, Chakwera said this “is no easy task, primarily because it involves overcoming two major obstacles that have been in place for decades”.

“The first of these obstacles is the chronic dysfunction and disorganization that exist in public institutions responsible for the proper running of key sectors.”

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