Former Malawian presidential candidate, the late James Nyondo, once said the country’s economy has always been problematic and any attempt by the government to resuscitate it is a joke. “Malawi’s economy since independence in 1964 has been on life support, with donors propping our weak economy. Malawi has been among the poorest on the planet. Our economy has never created sufficient jobs and the government remains the biggest employer, that is the problem,” he said. Although this statement was made in 2013 in reference to President Joyce Banda’s comment that the economy will stabilize after certain steps taken by her administration, it still applies to the country’s more recent economic challenges.
Malawi has been plagued by severe drought, a situation that has resulted in the annihilation of the agricultural sector as the El-Nino phenomenon has affected over 2.8 million people. Despite these challenges, Malawi’s economy has been tipped to grow by about 5.1 percent by the country’s Central Bank. The factors that are likely to boost growth in the country are – improved investor confidence, favorable weather conditions, higher agricultural exports, lower inflation and moderate interest rates. According to a report from the African Economic Outlook, as compiled by Peter Mwanakatwe and Gebrehiwot A. Kebedew, growth momentum in Malawi is expected to resume in 2016, with projected growth of 5.7 percent.
Following the effects of the drought, it has been announced that Malawi needs about $38m to provide a way out for those affected by the food shortage. Just last month, the Malawian government said the state-owned Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (ADMARC) will be importing 30,000 tonnes of maize from Zambia and another 50,000 tonnes from Tanzania. In a country where food shortage is the narrative, prices for this crop are expected to skyrocket, how will the people at the grassroots feed in this case?
However, the World Economic Outlook Global estimates Malawi’s economic growth to rise from 3.1 percent in 2015 to 3.4 percent in 2016 and 3.6 percent in 2017, stating that global economic growth will be gradual and that will have an effect on Malawi as a developing country.