Analysts have said the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS II) has not done much to contribute to the country’s socio-economic development.
Commenting on sectors such as agriculture and food security, water and irrigation, public health, democratic governance, climate change, environment and natural resource management, the analysts said MGDS II failed to make a significant impact to most of the sectors.
Governance and development specialist Henry Chingaipe said institutions in the democratic governance sector in Malawi lack the capacity to fulfill their mandates. He said this is not surprising as those working in the governance sector on different assignments have always pointed to such findings, among others.
On finding that human rights institutions such as the Office of the Ombudsman, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP), the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC), the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and Malawi Law Commission are weakened by gaps in the laws that established them, Chingaipe argued that changing the law would not be enough.
He said that even if the law is reformed and is made complete in terms of mandate, the sector would still not get some of the institutions to work as they should because of partiality of the parties that run government.
Commenting on agriculture and food security and water and irrigation sectors, irrigation and water resources expert Joseph Chidanti-Malunga, who is also chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Irrigation and Food Security, agreed that improving agricultural productivity in targeted sub-sectors is facing a lot of challenges.
“This makes it difficult to absorb new technological developments. Issues of improved agricultural productivity and diversification are related to land size. For example, you cannot talk about mechanisation when a farmer only owns 0.1 hectares. Even the case of Fisp [Farm Input Subsidy Programme], it also seems to target small-scale farmers who largely are mere subsistent,” he said.
Commenting on public health, Malawi Health Equity Network (Mhen) executive director George Jobe emphasised need to include inadequate public funding to health as it has been falling short of the Abuja Declaration of 15 percent of the national budget.
Social sectors analysed in the MGDS II report, which can be accessed online at www.mwnation.com, include gender, integrated rural development, water and sanitation and education, science and technology.
The MGDS II, 2011- 2016, is the country’s second medium-term plan and it was finalised and approved by the Cabinet in April 2012.
It is a medium-term strategy designed to implement Malawi’s long-term aspirations as spelt out in its Vision 2020. n