Economic experts are divided in opinion regarding the future of the local economy and how it is being managed.
This follows a study, published on August 28, by Afrobarometer which has shown that 84 percent of Malawians believe the economy is going in the wrong direction.
The study was conducted between December 2019 and January this year.
It further says the country’s economic condition is bad, where 48 percent of the people describe the situation as very bad and 61 percent of the people say they expect economic conditions to be worse in 12 months’ since January. 41 percent of the people believe the situation will get much worse.
The respondents in the study attribute their perception to a poor job by government in managing the economy, creating jobs, keeping prices stable, and narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor.
“Malawians continue to say loudly and clearly that the national economy and their personal living conditions are bad. The message is the same across key socio-demographic groups and even across different political party affiliations.
“For the government, it is not enough to inform the population that economic conditions are improving. Only the development and implementation of effective policies to improve people’s economic welfare will convince Malawians that things are getting better,” reads the conclusion of the report.
However Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama) disagrees with the findings saying key economic indicators such as inflation and interest rates have been fairly stable.
Ecama President, Lauryn Nyasulu, added that economic growth has been fairly good despite many people not feeling such positive strides in the economy.
“The challenge is that the economic growth that we experience has not been sustainable for a long period because our economy is subject to shocks and the growth we have been experiencing has not been able to trickle down to the local masses as we have not experienced improvements in living standards for most people especially in the rural areas,” Nyasulu said.
Chancellor College Economic Professor, Ben Kalua, added that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the direction of economies as governments are focusing on short term plans to cushion their economies from collapsing.
In a separate interview economist, Edward Chilima, said Malawi needs to focus on National Transformation 2063 if the country is to significantly transform and narrow the gap between the poor and the rich.
“In the short term, we need to focus on food security which can be achieved with the affordable fertiliser program being propagated by the government, in the medium term we need to create a middle income generation as is being pursued through the 1 million jobs agenda,” Chilima said.
The Malawi economy was projected to grow by five percent in 2020 but was later revised to one percent due to the impact of Covid-19.
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