President Prof Arthur Peter Mutharika on Tuesday launched the Malawi Growth Development Strategy (MGDS) III, a national development blueprint which he has described it as a manifesto of the nation, saying it represents the collective hopes and dreams of the people, the convictions and aspirations of the country.
Mutharika made the remarks at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe when he launched the the strategy which focuses on spurring growth and removing barriers to development in agriculture, water development and climate change management; education and skills development; energy, industry and tourism development; transport and information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure as well as health and population.
He said the strategy is the country’s homegrown policy for developing the country and as such its implementation should be a collective responsibility of all stakeholders involved.
The MGDS 111 is the medium term strategy designed to contribute to Malawi’s long term aspirations. The strategy covers a period of five years from 2017 to 2022 and is a successor to the MGDS 11 which was implemented between 2011 and 2016.
Mutharika said it is important to make Malawi a producing and exporting nation in order to make this manifesto a reality.
“We want to become a productive nation by increasing agricultural production and sustainability with better water management and irrigation. We are moving beyond rain-fed subsistence farming to make commercial agriculture the catalyst for industrialization,” he said.
In order to make Malawi a competitive nation, president Mutharika emphasized on the need to increase energy generation as well as improve transport and ICT infrastructure.
Not only did Mutharika say the strategy is an instrument for implementing the country’s national goals in the medium term but also an instrument for implementing specific Sustainable Development Goals.
“This is a homegrown development strategy that drives our national agenda in harmony with the international community,” he said.
Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Goodall Gondwe said the strategy is important in the development agenda process and as such all stakeholders should be involved in order to make it a success.
“MGDS III is built around a theme that aims to improve productivity, turn the country into a competitive nation and develop resilience to shocks and hazards,’ said Gondwe.
The strategy has been prepared at a time Malawi has been experiencing multiple shocks including floods, drought and financial crises. It is for this reason that the theme of the MGDS III is ‘Building a Productive, Competitive and resilient Nation.’
Chief Secretary to the Government, Lloyd Muhara said the strategy has potential to reduce poverty and create wealth through improving the economy, production and productivity.
National Planning Commission Chairperson, Prof Richard Mkandawire said since the strategy has the potential to link national agenda with the international community, there is need to link Africa’s success stories with that of Malawi.
“The strategy provides a roadmap development agenda and as such Malawi has the potential to join success stories with those of the international community,” said Mkandawire.
The MGDS III which has been formulated following the expiry of MGDS II in June, 2016 will be implemented from 2017 – 2022. It draws from previous development strategies namely Vision 2020, Malawi Poverty Reduction Strategy and MGDS II.
It is also a collective product of the private sector, civil society organizations, faith based groups, the national assembly, political parties and the academia.
The strategy identifies five key priorities on which a productive, competitive and resilient nation is built.
The priority areas are: Agriculture, Water development & Climate Change; Education & Skills Development; Energy, Industry & Tourism Development; Transport & ICT Infrastructure and Health & Population.