- Vision 2063: Incomes rise from $400 to as much as $12 000 annually
After the heartbreak that was Vision 2020, Malawians have given themselves a second chance with on Tuesday’s launch of Malawi 2063 in which the country aspires to be an upper middle-income nation 42 years from now.
With that dream—which President Lazarus Chakwera launched virtually in Lilongwe on Tuesday—annual earnings for each Malawian or gross national income (GNI) per capita could rise to between $3 956 (K3.2 million) and .$12 235 (K9.7 million), which is the range the World Bank places upper middle-income economies
Malawi’s GNI per capita averaged just $372.95 (nearly K300 000) between 1960 and 2018, according to the then Reserve Bank of Malawi governor Dalitso Kabambe, who said this at an economics conference in Mangochi in 2019 when he commented on the level of individual income that has condemned the country to low -income status for more than half a century after independence.
The Vision 2063 document says to become an upper middle income country, Malawi’s investment in both the public and private sectors has to be high enough to allow the country to grow by at least six percent annually.
Yet in the past 25 years between 1994 and 2019—Malawi’s annual real economic growth rates have averaged 4.3 percent, within striking distance of the country’s population growth rate.
Experts who reviewed Vision 2020 last year said Malawi needed to grow by more than seven percent to reach the lower middle- income status it dreamed of.
In lower middle-income category, citizens earn between $1006 (around K800 000) and $3 955, which Malawi failed to attain during the last vision, with per capita income stuck below $400.
Part of the problem during the implementation of the last vision was poor governance that resulted in the loss of at least 30 percent of the national budget to fraud and corruption and a lack of political will to enforce alignment of national budgets and medium-term plans to the national vision.
Experts also cite internal shocks largely linked to climate change that brought devastating floods and droughts, which crippled agricultural output—the country’s most important source of economic growth.
In his speech launching the new vision, President Chakwera urged Malawians to abolish the culture of waste, which he said is draining and destroying the resources that God gave Malawi to enable the country develop.
The President also reiterated his call for Malawians to “work hard, work smart, and work together,” if the country—ranking one of the poorest countries in the world—is to be wealthy and self-reliant as aspired by the country’s new long-term national development plan, Malawi 2063 (MW2063).
The new blueprint—which is built around economic empowerment of the youth as 51 percent of the population is under the age of 18 years—replaces Vision 2020 that expired last December and is associated with a high failure rate as most of its key targets were not achieved during its implementation period (between the years 2000 and 2020).
The new development masterplan aims to transform Malawi into a wealthy and self-reliant industrialised ‘upper middle-income country’ by the year 2063, and has projected that if the economy grows at an annual average rate of six percent,
Malawi could attain the low middle-income status by 2030 ($1006 and $3 955) earnings per person range.
Chakwera lamented that Malawians waste too much time on trivia and idleness; waste too much money on entitlements and consumption; waste too much land on crops for subsistence living in an annual cycle of poverty and dependency; waste too much aid on sustaining the careers and livelihoods of foreigners whose very professions depend on the very same poor Malawians.
Said the President: “We waste too many public offices on people who sit around adding no value to our quest for good government; we waste too many foreign embassy jobs on people who are nothing more than diplomatic tourists; we waste too much public discourse on politics of division, one-up-man-ship, fault-finding, slander, and misinformation; we waste too much of our minds and thoughts on gossip and frivolous tales about other people’s private affairs; we waste too much of our business activities on get-rich-quick schemes that fuel the greed and corruption now strangling the government’s entire procurement system with overpriced goods and under-delivered services.”
Justifying his accusation, Chakwera said: “For example, our development budget is always criminally low compared to our recurrent budget, as is our investment in strengthening governance institutions. This is because in our warped thinking, investing heavily in development and governance feels like a waste of money, while spending public funds on ourselves does not.”
The 2020/21 National Budget, for example, lacks key features of a development and transformative budget, with development expenditure at K511.2 billion, which represents 23 percent of the total budget chunk.
“Similarly, we are unwilling to make the investments in world-class talent and infrastructure necessary for long-term growth, because we wrongly believe that if human talent and infrastructure is expensive, then it is wasteful… let us resolve that today we will no longer tolerate anyone who engages in wasteful conduct,” he added.
Speaking virtually from his residence, Vice-President Saulos Chilima said all the aspirations of Malawians in the Malawi 2063 were identified through a widely consultative process that involved representation of all stakeholders.
“No stakeholder was left behind. Government ministries, the private sector, non-State actors, faith organisations, women, the youth… So, MW2063 represents the broad aspirations of Malawians, including those in diaspora and minority groups,” he said.
Taking his turn, David Claude Pierre, who spoke on behalf of African Union chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, said the union is ready to provide technical assistance that will help Malawi achieve the aspired goals and targets in the new vision.
The Malawi 2063 is anchored on three key pillars namely Agriculture Productivity and Commercialisation; Industrialisation; and Urbanisation. Chakwera said the attainment of the three pillars will be catalysed by seven enablers, namely mind-set change; effective governance system; public sector performance; private sector dynamism; human capital development; economic infrastructure; and environmental sustainability.
The year 2063 was specifically targeted because the country will have attained 100 years of self-governance then.