Economists to rethink development pillars

Post was last updated: November 9, 2017

The country’s top economists meet in Mangochi Thursday to review and, where necessary, design new pillars for Malawi’s economic development.

The 2017 Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama) annual conference comes at a time when the economy has started showing signs of stability, manifested by improved macroeconomic indicators.

The indaba also comes at a time when agriculture, considered the driver of the local economy, has failed to lift millions of Malawians out of extreme poverty as a bulk of the population continues to live below the World Bank poverty line of $1.90.

It also comes at a time when Capital Hill is yet to finalise drafting a five-year development blueprint to guide Malawi’s economic development agenda from 2016.

Ecama President, Henry Kachaje, said yesterday the conference would be held under the theme ‘Rethinking the Pillars and Structures for Malawi’s Transformative and Inclusive Economic Development’.

Kachaje said the meeting would help economists to bang heads of whether Malawi should continue relying on agriculture as the major enabler of the economy or search for other areas which could help accelerate economic development.

He said Vice-President Saulos Chilima is expected to open the meeting.

In developed economies, such meetings attract a lot of expectations from police-makers as well as businesses as they help shape the direction of the economy.

Speakers at the high-level conference include Professor Ephraim Wadonda Chirwa and Dr Winford Masanjala from Chancellor College, International Monetary Fund Resident Representative Jack Ree, Standard Bank Malawi Investment Manager Enock Kondowe and World Bank’s Efrem Chilima.

“We expect about 110 economists at this year’s conference,” Kachaje said.

During the indaba, economists will go to the polls to elect a new president and executive members.

Kachaje, however, said he would not contest for the presidency, saying he felt time had come for other capable individuals to lead the institution.

“This is a relay race. I think I have done my part. It is time for others to contribute towards the growth of the association.

“On whether I did a good job or not, I think the membership and Malawians will be the best judges,” Kachaje said.

With the elections slated for this evening, Malawians should expect a new Ecama p r e sident come Friday morning.

Meanwhile, Malawi Stock Exchange-listed FMB has donated K500,000 to conference organisers.

FMB Head of Marketing, Sylvia Mataka, said the bank appreciates the role economists play in shaping the economy.

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