By Duncan Mlanjira
National Planning Commission has come up with a successor to Vision 2020, which will define the common aspirations of all Malawians moving forward and is expected to be officially launched by President Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika on February 28 at the COMESA International Conference Centre in Blantyre.
A statement from National Planning Commission, whose Director General is Dr. Thomas Chataghalala Munthali, says the Right Honourable Speaker of Parliament and His Honour the Chief Justice, representing the other two Arms of Government (Legislature and Judiciary) are also expected to grace the event.
Also available will be civil, traditional and private sector leaders, who were involved in the consultation processes for developing the successor to Vision 2020.
The National Planning Commission was established through an Act of Parliament in 2017 and has been entrusted with two main mandates — the first to coordinating the development of medium to long-term national development plans, and the second is coordinating their implementation.
Malawia developed a long-term national development vision in 1998 called Vision 2020 on which the medium term plans have been based this far but its life-span ends this year.
“The Commission has since reviewed the Vision 2020 with the aim of analyzing the progress that had been made during the period of implementation and identifying the lessons learnt in regard to what worked, what did not and why,” says the statement.
“Given their criticality, the findings will be shared during this launch so that Malawians, their leaders and stakeholders appreciate the issues.
“These will then feed into the development of the next long term national development plan.”
The statement further said some of the key lessons from the review include the need to come up with a more focused vision, ensure for its implementation by putting in place sound accountability mechanisms, and having strong M&E systems.
The successor to Vision 2020 has been designed to primarily be youth-driven and that the official launch will lead to an extensive nationwide consultative process in order to ensure that the Vision to be agreed fully reflects the aspirations of all Malawians.
The consultations will be undertaken in the form of meetings, group discussions, surveys, one-on-one meetings, radio phone-in programmes, TV hosted shows, and written submissions, amongst others.
The launch is under the theme ‘Beyond inclusive envisioning to getting things done’ and those to be still be consulted on will principally be Malawian citizens as well as other groups such as public sector, private sector, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), faith-based organizations (FBOs), political parties, youth and other marginalized groups, local governments, the diaspora, academia, media organizations, inter alia.
“Notably, while this is an official launch, the Commission started the consultations some couple of years ago,” says the statement.
“So far, two issues seem to be emerging — first, a vision that is transformational focusing more on inclusive wealth creation and self-reliance.
“Second, that the Vision should look at the period up to 2063. The proposed inclusive, wealth creation Vision, is in realization that any wealthy household and nation would be able to primarily finance its own socio-economic needs sustainably by itself without looking for handouts.
“On the other hand, the year 2063 will mark 100 years of Malawi’s self-governing. The vision is to hence be economically independent and self-reliant too by then.
“Further, we need to plan long enough not for ourselves but selflessly for our children. Relatedly, Agenda 2063, which is Africa’s socio-economic development blue-print has the broad aspiration of a prosperous, united and peaceful continent — all of which apply to us a country.”
However, the Commission says it wishes to emphasize that what has emerged so far will be put to test in the nation-wide consultation after this official launch in order to confirm on these positions or harness alternatives.
“What will be key ultimately, will be agreeing to a Vision that defines Malawi’s collective aspirations [and] in the ensuing nation-wide consultations, the Commission will seek to understand Malawian answers to some basic questions.”
The questions include: What kind of Malawi does all want to see by 2063 which will have been 100 years of self-governing; what should a common Malawian look like by 2063 and in order to meet the aspirations pointed out in the former questions, what needs to be done differently and by who?
Unlike in the past plans, emphasis on the new Vision will be on strategies that will help in getting things done and collectively holding each other accountable and thus the theme for the launch is ‘Beyond collective envisioning to getting things done.’
The Commission says the launch will also involve all major political parties in the country that are represented in Parliament to reflect the spirit of a national agenda that stands above political agendas.
“The launch will be open to the local public and will involve activities that will showcase that it is possible for Malawi to register significant progress in different developmental sectors.
“It is such progress that the new long term development plan will seek to identify and upscale for a prosperous Malawi.
“It is the hope of the Commission that we will together be able to identify interventions that are working in the different spheres of national development, and be able to scale those up in other areas throughout the country.”
In addition, the Commission aspires to involve the private sector more in national development planning and in generating real wealth at the household and country level.
“The Malawi we want is possible. The time is now,” says the statement.