By Sylvester Kumwenda, MANA
One of the Commissioners of the National Planning Commission (NPC), Phillip Madinga has called for mindset change and concerted efforts from all Malawians to make sure the newly-drafted vision for Malawi — the National Transformation 2063 — is successfully realized.
Madinga made the remarks at the end of the two-day National Development Conference, which was the first of its kind for Malawi, held at Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe from Thursday to Friday, August 27-28.
The conference brought together many stakeholder experts to review national development plans and strategies in the National Transformation 2063.
It was also meant to validate emerging issues gathered during nationwide consultations the NPC made, on what kind of Malawi Malawians would like to see by the year 2063.
Madinga said the deliberations revealed that there is a pressing need for Malawians to change their mindset, develop self esteem and start getting directly involved in activities aimed at developing the country.
“Some of the key messages that came out consistently throughout the conference were around how we Malawians can change our mindset as we envision the new future for our country, and for our children’s children,” he said.
“How do we become active citizens and stop being spectators because it is not going to be the donors or someone who is going to come and implement this.”
Madinga added that Malawians should borrow a leaf from developed countries, which have managed to join hands and develop their countries on their own, with everybody’s participation.
“This is a call to all Malawians out there to say that it is not about the NPC nor the President and his Vice, but it is about all Malawians coming together to make sure that what we have crafted in the new vision is realized, and it can only be done if we Malawians do it ourselves,” he said.
The conference was held under the theme ‘Beyond Political Freedom to Inclusive Wealth Creation and Self Reliance and was opened by President Lazarus Chakwera.
After consultations, stakeholders agreed to have a youth-driven wealth creation and inclusive growth vision.
This has been anchored on three pillars — agricultural commercialization, industrialization which includes mining, urbanization which and tourism.
Madinga said all the pillars are interlinked and in order to achieve these pillars, the conference also agreed upon seven enablers that have been adopted to help in achieving the key pillars.
“These are mindset change which includes a positive value system; human development which is gender sensitive and includes family planning; effective governance systems involving active citizen engagement; infrastructure development focusing on transport, energy and ICT; environmental sustainability; private sector dynamism and enhanced public sector performance,” Madinga said.
The draft vision, which is replacing the Vision 2020 which is ending this year, will be submitted to Parliament for approval before being rolled out early January 2021.
However, members of the general public and other stakeholders still have a window of around three weeks to also submit their suggestions into the new vision to the NPC.
Some of the panelists who made presentations during the conference include business consultant Henry Kachaje; agriculture expert Professor Thom Jayne; retired Principal Secretary Reverend Elsie Tembo, who made a presentation on enhanced public sector performance and Dr Henry Chingaipe on effective governance systems.
In his key note address, Vice-Chancellor at United States International University-Africa, Paul Tiyambe Zeleza said over the last two decades Malawi has improved its global competitiveness indicators, but it needs to and can do more.
He also said Malawi’s persistent underdevelopment does not emanate from lack of planning but there had been renowned and influential development thinkers and policy analysts, whose innovative works nevertheless were underutilised.
In his opening speech on Thursday, President Chakwera said if the citizenry want a new Malawi, everyone must accept that it must build using the countries own resources not to rely on donors.
“We have before us the enormous task of building a new Malawi enjoyed by all,” he said.
“This task is a developmental coin with two indispensable sides — on the one hand, it involves the development of a new kind of citizen and, on the other, the development of a new kind of nation.
“We cannot develop fully by doing one without the other, and it is certain that we cannot develop at all by neglecting both as we have done for a quarter of a century.”—Additional reporting by Duncan Mlanjira