The National Development and Reform Commission of China has asked the Government of Malawi to share its national development plan, especially in areas where the country wants to cooperate with China.
Malawi had a five-year growth and development strategy, the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS II), which was operational from 2011 and ended on June 30 2016.
MGDS focused on attaining development aspirations by, among others, reducing poverty through sustainable economic growth and infrastructure development.
Apart from that, the country also had a short-term plan, Economic Recovery Plan (ERP), which was launched in 2012 to restore external and internal economic stability and increasing resource allocation to areas that would address constraints to economic growth such as energy, infrastructure and also to areas that could boost production for the export market.
Speaking to visiting Malawian journalists in Beijing, China on Monday, deputy director of Overseas Investment Division II in the Department of Foreign Capital and Overseas Investment, National Development and Reform Commission Qiu Yuliang said Malawi needs to give China its developmental focus and priorities.
He said: “The Malawian Embassy in China should give us Malawi’s economic plan and where the country is focusing its development for us to have a better idea on where we can focus on in production capacity cooperation. We will need to study that first.”
He said the country should also tell China the areas that need urgent attention.
Yuliang said China can then offer recommendations to Chinese companies for business research and decide on the priority areas for investment.
“The plan will fast-track production capacity because different countries have different needs. We, therefore, need to know Malawi’s needs,” he said.
Yuliang gave an example of Ethiopia’s economy, which he said is growing at a fast rate because, among others, it shared its growth strategy and focus area where it is cooperating with China.
“It [Ethiopia] has developed a growth strategy for the next five years in areas such as industry, manufacturing and high-tech. As this is the area they are focusing on, we provide the most successful Chinese companies to go to Ethiopia to find out business opportunities and we ask Chinese financial institutions to finance these companies,” he said.
Officials from Malawi’s Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development were not available yesterday to comment on the concerns by China.
Malawi is yet to develop a successor development strategy for MGDS II, and plans are underway to establish a National Planning Commission, which will develop the country’s development agenda.
But Yuliang said China can also come in to help Malawi in developing its agriculture industry since it has huge land and experienced farmers.
Malawi and People’s Republic of China established diplomatic relations in December 2008 after it severed its 41-year-old relationship with Taiwan.