The short answer to this is: by doing those things which other people have done to transform their countries from poverty to affluence. Easy to say but not so easy to do. The fact remains that achievers in the history of economic development had to borrow ideas and technologies from those who were advanced.
What makes an economy grow? The following are some of the explanation.
(a) The amount of output that in average worker produce in an hour. Efficient and hard workers produce more than inefficient and less diligent people. Let us work with the stamina and the Chinese, and stop deluding ourselves that we are a hard working nation.
(b) The number of hours the average worker spends on the job, the habit of watching the clock and hastening home as soon as the hands of the clock converge on five pm spot must be given up. Great writers on management tell us that the average American business tycoon works at least sixteen hours a day, seven days a week, seldom takes a vacation. This is the work ethic that is missing even though we have Calvinnets among us.
(c) The fraction of the population that wants prima facie most Malawians want to work but lack opportunities to do so. But rather too many are seen idle paying nchuwa, the pebble and hole game, or else seated in a taxeen tippeng from dawn to dusk.
(d) The size of the population. When output grows faster than population, the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita will grow. This means the average citizen will enjoy a higher living standard. When output grows more slowly than the population, the average standard of living will either stagnate or be marginal.
To say since independence Malawi has not experienced economic and social changes would be a blatant in truth. Most people are better dressed than those of the per-independence day, we have better roads and bridges, numerous secondary schools, universities and hospitals, still compared with other countries that started the development race with us, we are a very poor country. This is so because Malawi’s population has been growing faster than the GDP. In 1994, the population was four million now it is seventeen or eighteen million. Soon, we will be hearing the figures twenty. The population tends to grow by geometrical progression while the means of subsistence or wealth has been growing by anthematical progression despite the country’s exposure to modern technology.
(e) Education quantity, quality and relevant have been major factors in revolutionalising the economies of the countries of the Far East China and Japan. It is true that great attention must be paid to technical subjects but if we neglect such humanities as Business Management, we will continue missing the boat to the land of milk and honey.
Entrepreneurship and managerialism are indispensable factors in development. We may produce competent doctors but if in the hospital there are perpetual drug shortages for a variety of reasons, doctors cannot save lives. We may have qualified engineers, but if those who handle procurement of machines are incompetent or corrupt, the engineers will not do their jobs effectively. We must be better organised for success in development. Let uslook at the institutions of these countries that have broken records in the field of industrialisation, let us look at how they recruit their staff. Nepotism and cronyism are elements of decadent.
(f) Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). This has played a crucial role in development, symposiums have been held several times at which foreign business people have promised to come back to Malawi and invents. The aftermath has not been exciting. Do we know what motivates businesses people in developed countries to go and build factories abroad?
Some business people want to have access to new markets because the home market is getting saturated. Do we convince potential investors that Malawi is a market in which they can do good business, or a good base for entry intro regional market?
There are those who shift their production facilities abroad to defend their position in market where they have already been operating.
Many companies upon finding competition on price rather still shift their factories abroad to those countries where costs of production are lower. India and Singapore have been destinations for western investors especially American companies.
Yet other companies shift their businesses abroad to have access to resources. Instead of importing the raw materials, they build the factories near source.
If we are going to entice foreign direct investors, we must understand their interests and mindsets. They are to us what customers are to sales persons. A shrewd salesperson talks in terms of what the buyer will benefit from buying his or her product. We must try this technique. We are in the selling business as regards FDI. n