The economists reached the consensus at the end of a two day annual conference of Economics Association of Malawi ( ECAMA) that zeroed in on economic stabilization in light of external shocks.
Chancellor College’s Associate Professor Ronald Mangani led the discussion with his presentation titled ‘The Quest for Pragmatic Economic Management in Malawi’.
Mangani argued that for a long time the country has been stuck with structural programmes that do not fit perfectly with the reality on the ground hence the call for a new thinking and deep analysis on what works for the country.
“The Success of Neo-liberalism is in its failure. Comprehensive policy reforms dangled in return for Western aid since 1981 need to be revisited," he said.
He said:"Instead of focusing of programmes that empower the rural masses that bring food on the table for ordinary Malawians, we have done otherwise for a long time. We can’t keep on experimenting while Malawians are walloping in poverty."
“Economic independence hinges on leadership among other factors. I should commend the current administration for showing strong political will to redesign economic policies that will move the country on a right economic path,” said Mangani.
Discussants agreed with Mangani’s proposition adding, “there’s strong need for proper evaluation and invest resources in sectors that are capable of expanding and drive the economy to new heights.”
National Statistical Office (NSO), in its presentation highlighted the need for serious investments in population control programmes as going by the current trends, the population is expected to double by 2050 which will put more pressure on limited resources.
ECAMA’s president Lauryn Nyasulu said the economists' body appreciates the responsibility it has to play in turning around the fortunes of the country through constructive submissions to Government on key economic matters.
Nyasulu: 'Ecama will monitor progress on submissions made'
“As an association we are supposed to provide economic advice to Government and we will make sure this advice is research based.
"You know economics is a diverse field so we would like to see that our submissions form a strong basis for key decision making.
Nyasulu said key take away points from the conference included:
--Call for pragmatic solutions/strategies that speak to the Malawian situation.
--Refrain from adopting structural programmes that are just thrown on the country and will just deepen poverty and external debt in long term.
--Aspire for development projects that we can afford to sustain.
--Address structural constraints to rejuvenate export trade.
The new Ecama team usherred in office suring the the AGM
A conference communiqué will be produced and shared to relevant stakeholders including Government and ECAMA will closely monitor progress on the same.
This year’s conference was held under the theme ‘Going beyond macroeconomic stabilization-The need for building resilience to external shocks.’