Vice-President Saulos Chilima says it remains the quest of government that Malawi should move from aid dependence to trade and become an exporting country rather than an importer.
According to Chilima, sharing knowledge and experience with development partners like United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) can help accelarate government’s development agenda.
Speaking after the close of a two-day Cabinet retreat on Saturday evening in Lilongwe, Chilima said the Unctad- organised retreat has boosted and enhanced ministers, principal secretaries and chief director’s knowledge on their roles to improve the economy.
“Most countries that have developed, have done so through investment and trade. Through trade, you open companies, you create employment opportunities, you manufacture products for export or sale locally and income generated is used for development.
“Through the knowledge and experiences shared, Malawi has gained new knowledge on how other countries have performed, now it’s up to us to prioritise and map the way forward on our development path,” he said.
Finance Minister, Goodall Gondwe described the retreat as important and said as a country we have to identify one thing that will be key for the country’s development and everybody should rally behind it.
He added the retreat focussed on case studies of Rwanda and Kenya and that former African Development Bank President, Donald Kaberuka, a Rwandan national, shared key insight on how his country has made significant economic progress since the 1994 genocide.
“We have made a decision to meet again as Cabinet and from what we have learned through Unctad, we will discuss how to adopt the best practices so that we can transform the country the way we would like it to be transformed,” the Finance minister said.
On his part, Unctad secretary general Mukhisa Kituyi said it is up to all political leaders, civil society, academia and the media to find common interest at the core of Malawi’s development agenda and separate them for respective political differences.
“There is need to find common ground on such interests and priorities to achieve economic prosperity by making use of other people’s best experiences,” Kituyi said.
Unctad has been running such programmes of cabinet briefings and engaging top leadership for the past two years. Madagascar is one of the country that has transformed courtesy of these retreats.