As it has already been said somewhere, Malawi was economically at par with Taiwan at Independence in 1964. At the moment Taiwan has become so developed that it cannot be compared to Malawi at all. The economic gains that Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda [the first post-colonial President)] achieved have been systematically quashed by retrogressive leadership that followed him. Even Professor Patrick Lumumba of Kenya once rightly stated that the African problem is fundamentally the failure of leadership. This is a correct analysis which applies to Malawi as well.
It is a known fact that Kamuzu Banda had set high standards for running Malawi. Unfortunately, his successors formed policies that allowed mediocrity at every level of government and in all sectors. It does not need a genius to know that no country in the world has even achieved meaningful development by mediocrity.
Meanwhile, the Peter Mutharika government should know better that it is becoming redundant to keep on saying that the Malawi economy is failing to grow because of natural calamities of drought and floods. The government should be reminded that if Rwanda had kept on using the 1994 genocide as an excuse, it would not have been where it is now as one of the most developed in Africa. Lack of budgetary support from donors is also used as a reason for the dwindling Malawi economy. It is high time the Malawi government emulated other African countries who have weaned or are working hard to wean themselves from donor budgetary support. Relying on donors to support a national budget is not something to be proud of, and yet in Malawi it creates a lot of euphoria within the leadership. To them it is an indicator of economic growth. This is shameful to say the least.
Recently, the World Bank pledged a budgetary support to Malawi of K60 billion. Speeches from government officials and the entire leadership seem to indicate that they take this gesture as a confirmation that the government is delivering and this is a success story worth to convince all Malawians that things are getting better. What is deliberately forgotten is that the main reason for donor aid freeze was corruption and abuse of government resources, including donor money.This is still happening and even getting worse. The President has even conceded about the unstoppable corruption. This has been and is still the main stumbling block to economic progress. Therefore, making the World Bank gesture as an indicator of economic improvement in Malawi is just wishful thinking.
When the economy of Malawi will improve, Malawians themselves throughout the country will be the genuine indicators. Their lives will change for the better as their basic needs of food, clean water, medicines etc. will be available. Businesses, too, will flourish and job scarcity will be a thing of the past. Security, too, will improve and Malawians will not be found wanting.
Currently, the positive economic indicators being talked about by government are just on paper as the majority of Malawians continue to suffer. Needless to say that most people have no confidence in government. If the government takes pride in confidence from outsiders, this has very little meaning, especially with the high level of corruption which knows no boundary. Even the donor aid money can also be easily converted into personal fortunes by those in the corridors of power.
In conclusion, the life of ordinary Malawians is the best indicator of an improved Malawi economy and not mere figures on paper.