Economics lecturers at Catholic University of Malawi (Cunima) have described the country’s long-term strategy Vision 2020 as a shattered dream.
The lecturers said this on Friday at the institution during a presentation of their yet-to-be published paper titled Vision 2020: A Shattered Dream.
Vision 2020 is a long-term development strategy for Malawi which was prepared to serve as a base for short and medium-term planning that will lead to the vision that Malawians want to achieve by 2020.
According to the lecturers, the country has failed to meet most of the targets set in the blueprint, including the short to medium-term strategies that came in between such as Malawi Growth and Development Strategies I and II and the Malawi Poverty Reduction Strategy.
With just three years left to 2020, the country has not reached half of what the country envisioned.
For example, the $1 000 (K733 000 at the current exchange rate) target for per-capita gross domestic product (GDP) remains a pipe dream and the future looks bleak in the next three years.
Cunima head of economics department Gilbert Kachamba said rampant corruption and lack of political will are the major contributing factors to this lackluster performance.
He said: “We have changed different governments [since implementation of the vision]. As governments were changing, the vision was also changing. Malawi needs a new vision which will take the issues of corruption aboard.”
Another economist Hopkins Kawaye said poor implementation of strategies also contributed to the backward strides the country is making in the quest to graduate into a middle-income country.
“We have to make sure that whatever we put on paper should be implemented and for us to do that we have to deal with corruption. As long as we have corruption while these beautiful goals are on paper, they will remain goals on paper,” said Kawaye.
Malawi was recently ranked 120 out of 176 countries on the Corruption Perception Index by Transparency International. This is worse than position 88 in 2012.
On his part, economist Edward Masoambeta said since implementation of the strategy, there has not been a steady increase in real growth and GDP shows fluctuating trends.
He said there is a high dependency ratio in terms of population such that those contributing to GDP growth are fewer, calling for the need to fast-track ways to reduce population.
The economists also said Malawi has failed to achieve fair and equitable distribution of income as the income gini-coeficient of 0.67 shows that wealth is concentrated in fewer rich individuals.
The gini-coeficient is a common measure of income inequalities which shows how close a given distribution is to equality and inequality, with a coefficient of 0 representing perfect equality and one representing perfect in equality.
The economists also pointed on the need to encourage service sector growth which cumulatively contribute over 50 percent of GDP, promote and explore international markets for exportable and value added agro-products.