National Planning Commission (NPC) says it will ensure that both sectoral and district development plans are in sync with Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDSIII) and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The commission, an independent think-tank established through an Act of Parliament and launched early last year, says as part of its mandate, it will identify the country’s socio-economic development priorities and formulate the national vision and strategy for socio-economic goals, taking into account the resource potential.
Newly-appointed NPC director general Thomas Munthali, in an interview in Lilongwe on Wednesday, outlined key priority development initiatives the commission plans to focus on in the medium to long-term.
MGDS III states that NPC will be responsible for coordinating implementation of the country’s projects and programmes.
Munthali said one of the core mandates of NPC is to develop medium-term development plans that operationalise the long-term vision of the country and coordinate their implementation.
He said: “Ensuring that sectoral and local level plans talk to the MGDS III and national vision is important for ensuring a common vision.
“The commission has already started supporting training around localisation of the MGDS III and SDGs into district development plans and this will happen at sectoral level too.”
The SDGs are a collection of 17 goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 and will run up to 2030 while MGDS III, which will be implemented from 2017 to 2022, is a third medium-term national development strategy for Malawi aligned to the country’s long-term national development aspirations, espoused in Malawi’s Vision 2020.
Munthali explained that NPC will work with development partners and civil society organisations to align the country’s assistance strategies to national goals.
He said by collaborating with other stakeholders, together they will define areas of mutual interest within the country’s priorities.
“The NPC will coordinate the monitoring and evaluation of the MGDS III along with various partners in the areas of mutual interest. The idea is to understand what is working and not to inform future interventions, especially in MGDS III priority areas and flagship projects,” he said.
He said NPC will also ensure that political party manifestos speak to national development frameworks and agenda.
“However, as the NPC, we will help the governing party to focus on those priorities that have the most impact on poverty and inequality reduction,” said Munthali.
NPC has been operating without a director general before Munthali assumed office mid-March.
However, with only an interim secretariat, the NPC has, so far, registered tangible strides which include launching of the MGDS III and its wide dissemination, translation of a summary of the MGDS III into local languages, supporting training of trainers on the localisation of the development plan and SDGs in district development plans and also holding consultations with various stakeholders such as legislators, development partners, district councils, academia and civil society. n