Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), a United Kingdom-based research and analysis division of Economist Group, sees no immediate return to economic normalcy for Malawi despite rolling out Covid-19 vaccine.
Instead, the unit said it expects continued local outbreaks and the repeated imposition of strict social measures to remain an important subject for the country.
In its brief for Malawi titled Impact of the Rollout of Vaccines: Regional and Malawi Assumptions, the EIU says the rollout of effective vaccines means that a path to normality will gradually become clearer in 2022.
Reads the brief in part: “The slow pace of vaccine distribution creates significant risks for the economies. This will hold back the global recovery and foster the emergence of new variants of the virus which may prove resistant to current vaccines.”
Commenting on EIU report, a local investment and advisory firm Cedar Capital Limited, said the developed world has pinned its hopes on the vaccine, but most African countries, including Malawi, could rely on lockdown and restrictions of movement to deal with the expected third and fourth waves of the pandemic.
The firm said this could further dampen the prospects of a quick economic recovery.
But in his presentation of the Mid-Year Budget Review Statement on February 26, Minister of Finance Felix Mlusu said apart from the good weather conditions boosting agricultural output, government is also banking on the vaccine to help spur economic growth this year.
He indicated that the growth rate for 2021 is projected at 3.5 percent largely on account of the normal to above normal rains that the country has received and the vaccine.
“The enhanced growth prospects in 2021 are also buttressed by the ongoing government infrastructure development projects in the road, energy and agriculture sectors,” he said.
Mlusu said just like in many other countries, the Covid-19 vaccine is also expected to spur business and economic confidence in 2021 and beyond.
On March 5, the Malawi government received its first 360 000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine. The shipment was the first tranche of about 1.2 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines allocation for Malawi under the Covax programme.