Lack of policy direction and strategic political decisions is fuelling poverty and low levels of human development, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) has said.
In its June 2017 country evaluation brief, Norad said Malawi has a long history of aid dependence and shifting donor strategies according to changing priorities and political circumstances.
The report has observed that donor support for good governance and anti-corruption efforts is reported as less successful with donor confidence in the government still low.
Reads the report in part: “Donor support to good governance and government efficiency has not transformed Malawi politics into an effective instrument of service delivery, strategic policy formulation and efficient implementation of development-oriented policies.”
Malawi is characterised by continuing high levels of poverty, weak economic growth and failure to deepen democratic development.
Human development indicators remain dismal despite slow improvements, according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Available statistics show that about 70 percent of the country’s population live on less than 1.90 (K1 400) a day, which is the international poverty datum line.
Responding to the report findings, political commentator Emily Mkamanga said the country seems not to have a real policy from government to direct the development agenda despite donors putting in money for development.
Economist Gilbert Kachamba, who is head of economics department at Catholic University in Chiradzulu, said looking at the current trends and lack of serious development goals coupled with inconsistencies of policies, poverty reduction will remain a far-fetched dream.
Malawi recently ranked on position 170 out of 188 on the Human Development Index (HDI) by UNDP.
Despite the improvements from an HDI value of 0.325 in 1990 to 0.476 in 2015, Malawi’s HDI value is below the average of 0.497 for countries in the low human development group and below the average of 0.523 for countries in sub-Saharan Africa. n