Malawi Finance Minister Ken Lipenga says structural transformation rather than adjustment is what can transform countries such as Malawi.
He said while transformation will not happen overnight, Malawi is poised to achieve its goal of attaining economic independence although the ride is a bumpy one.
Malawi is currently implementing an Economic Recovery Plan (ERP) to create more jobs through the Public Private Partnerships (PPPs).
Lipenga, in an interview after he delivered his statement at the ongoing African finance ministers meeting of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and African Union (AU) in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, reiterated that the reforms currently underway in Malawi will help in the long run to attain economic independence.
“Overdependence due to lack of employment is huge in Malawi with over 93 people depending on 100 working people. We need ways to create jobs. Industrialisation based on commodities will be key to this goal,” he said.
Lipenga said the path Malawi has already embarked on, despite being a painful one, is the right way for the country to transform.
“We believe Malawi can industrialise in a smart way. It is a process that we have started. The government is setting a good environment for investors and soon we should actually see some change in the economy.
“This process involved the devaluation of the kwacha so that Malawi is competitive on the world market,” he said.
Finance experts have since adopted African Monetary Fund Statutes, as the continent moves to establish the fund and a Pan-African Stock Exchange.
The decisions are part of the recommendations adopted on Sunday by the committee of African experts of the 6th joint annual meetings of the AU conference of ministers of economy and finance and ECA conference of African ministers of finance, planning and economic development.
These recommendations are aimed at moving Africa beyond dependence on the production and export of unprocessed materials, drawn on the theme ‘Industrialisation for an emerging Africa’ of the ongoing conference of Finance ministers.
The African experts, who started meeting last week, also agreed that the discussions on regional integration in Africa should revisit the major debate on integration approaches proposed by former Tanzania president Julius Nyerere and former Ghana leader Kwameh Nkrumah at independence, to see if any of these are suitable for Africa today.
Nkrumah had called for rapid integration so that sovereignty tendencies would not inhibit the drive towards integration, while Nyerere called for gradualist approach to integration based on the development of regional pillars.
The experts unanimously agreed that industrialisation has the potential to be a powerful driver of sustainable economic growth in Africa and, that for Africa to achieve this, governments need to adopt policies that will support the promotion of value addition and economic transformation.
While sustained growth has contributed significantly to rapid economic transformation in other parts of the world, experts said the relatively good growth performance in Africa has not been inclusive, as millions of Africans are caught in the poverty trap due largely to the lack of diversification of sources of growth, including over-reliance on primary commodity exports.