LILONGWE--Malawi’s reeling economy could benefit from a package exclusively designed for the country as quickly as possible, World Bank officials have said.
“There are certain things that are very important but they take time to work. We also need some short and medium term plans,” said Marcel Giugale who met Malawian officials on Wednesday and presented the bank’s plan, which in a nutshell, aims at helping the country stabilise the economy and helping it grow.
Giugale, who is the bank’s African Regional Director of Economic Management, said Malawi requires large investments to assist in making the country a net exporter not only to fellow African nations but overseas markets as well which could translate into real growth.
The five-year comprehensive country assistance strategy the bank processed with Malawi ended last year, giving hope to Malawi that this time around there would be a new strategy exclusively tailored for the poor southern African country.
The World Bank team is in the country at the invitation of Pres Bingu wa Mutharika.
“When Mutharika invited us, he didn’t just want to look at the current foreign exchange imbalances, but also considered that we bring forth a comprehensive bailout plan,” said Kundlavi Kadiresan, the World Bank’s director responsible for Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The meeting comes against a backdrop of tough talk from Pres Mutharika who accuses international development institutions of forcing their policies on developing countries like Malawi without taking into consideration the unique challenges each country faces.
Last week, Mutharika said donors who were unhappy with his vision of the country were free to leave. He also accused donors proving financial support to civil society organisations which he says are plotting to overthrow him.
Malawi’s current economic crisis is said to be the worst since independence in 1964. Donors, unhappy with the way the Mutharika administration has been handling its finances and dealt with issues of human rights, either cut off or slashed their aid to the country which for decades depended on foreign assistance.
While in Malawi, the World Bank team met with central bank governor Perks Ligoya and cabinet minister Ken Lipenga (Finance), Peter Mutharika (Foreign Affairs), Peter Mwanza (Agriculture) and John Banda (Industry and Trade).
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