Economic commentators say the court-ordered fresh presidential election has provided a defining moment for the country’s economy as the new President will either build or destroy confidence among the economic players.
In an interview on Wednesday, Betchani Tchereni, economics lecturer at The Polytechnic, a constituent College of the University of Malawi, said the calibre of the elected President will either inspire confidence or demoralise to the economy.
He said this is based on the broader policy and vision that a President has, which unlocks goodwill from both local and international private investors, including budget support, which was cut in 2013 due to Cashgate, the plunder of taxpayers’ money at Capital Hill in Lilongwe.
Tchereni said this in the context of the court-sanctioned election held on Tuesday following the nullification of the 2019 presidential election by the Constitutional Court due to massive irreguralities.
He said investors and development partners can have hope or hope can be taken away by the elected leader, adding that where there is hope, people begin to work hard to rescue the fragile economy.
Said Tchereni: “With Covid-19 global pandemic and a lot of economic uncertainty that have been happening in the past year coupled with mass demonstrations, the need for economic stability is critical.
“We now have to create an environment where the country is at work in all sectors. We need a strong leadership that will help the country to bounce back from its political impasse and Covid-19 economic losses.”
He said the country also depends on international partners and they are waiting in the wings to see whether the leader to be elected will be ideal to work with or otherwise.
Tchereni said the private sector needs strong political support because it needs to work in a country where the leadership takes their interests seriously to ensure a mutual working relationship.
On his part, Consumers Association of Malawi executive director John Kapito in an interview on Wednesday said people are anticipating that the economy, which is expected to slow to 1.9 percent this year, will be corrected and rebound from its challenges.
He said: “We have had political wrangles and now Covid-19 that has ravaged the economy. What I should advise people is that there is no winner or loser in the election because if something goes amiss in the process and batters the economy badly, winners and losers will feel the pinch.”
He said Malawi needs a buoyant economy that creates jobs and wealth for a common man.
Earlier, Treasury said as is the case in many countries globally, growth prospects for Malawi are shrouded in uncertainty.
Figures show that pre-pandemic real gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate for 2020 was projected at 5.5 percent, but with the adverse economic impact of Covid-19, government revised GDP growth rate downwards to 1.9 percent.