Malawi is a landlocked country in Southern Africa with a population of about 19 million and a GDP per capita of about $411 in 2020. Malawi faces many challenges in achieving its development goals, such as poverty, inequality, food insecurity, climate change, low productivity, and weak governance. However, Malawi also has many opportunities and potential to transform its economy and society by 2063, the year that marks the centenary of its independence.
In January 2021, Malawi launched its new vision named Malawi 2063 (MW2063), which aims to transform Malawi into a wealthy and self-reliant industrialized upper-middle-income country by the year 2063 . The vision is based on three pillars: (1) agricultural productivity and commercialization; (2) industrialization; and (3) urbanization. The vision also identifies five enablers: (1) governance; (2) human capital development; (3) economic infrastructure; (4) private sector-led growth; and (5) environmental sustainability.
To achieve this vision, Malawi needs to implement a series of policies and strategies that address the root causes of its underdevelopment and leverage its comparative advantages and opportunities. Some of the key actions that Malawi needs to take are:
- Enhance agricultural productivity and commercialization by improving access to inputs, markets, credit, extension services, irrigation, and mechanization; promoting crop diversification and value addition; strengthening linkages with the manufacturing sector; and ensuring food security and nutrition for all.
- Promote industrialization by developing a competitive and diversified manufacturing sector that produces high-value goods for domestic and export markets; fostering innovation and technology transfer; creating an enabling environment for private sector investment and entrepreneurship; and building skills and capacities for industrial development.
- Foster urbanization by developing world-class urban centers and tourism hubs across the country with requisite socio-economic amenities for a high-quality life; improving urban planning and management; enhancing connectivity and mobility; providing affordable housing and basic services; and creating decent jobs and livelihoods for urban residents.
- Strengthen governance by ensuring effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels; upholding the rule of law and human rights; combating corruption and enhancing transparency; promoting civic participation and social cohesion; and maintaining peace and security.
- Invest in human capital development by expanding access to quality education, health, water, sanitation, and social protection services for all; enhancing skills development and lifelong learning; empowering women and youth; addressing population growth and demographic dividend; and promoting cultural diversity and heritage.
- Improve economic infrastructure by upgrading and expanding transport, energy, water, ICT, and other infrastructure networks; enhancing regional integration and trade facilitation; ensuring reliability, affordability, and sustainability of infrastructure services; and attracting public-private partnerships for infrastructure financing.
- Ensure environmental sustainability by adopting green growth strategies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enhance resilience to climate change impacts, conserve natural resources, protect biodiversity, prevent pollution, and promote renewable energy sources.
By implementing these actions, Malawi can achieve its vision of becoming an inclusively wealthy and self-reliant nation by 2063. This will require collective effort and commitment from all stakeholders, including the government, the private sector, the civil society, the development partners, the diaspora, and the citizens. Malawi has the potential to change its destiny and create a better future for its people. As the MW2063 states: “We as Malawians desire and resolve to be an inclusively wealthy and self-reliant industrialized upper-middle-income country by the year 2063 , so we can fund our development needs primarily by ourselves. Our manufacturing industry shall have strong forward and backward linkages with the sectors that will drive it. We shall achieve this Vision through collective effort and shall not allow any state or non-state actor to derail us.”
To achieve this vision, Malawi needs not only to implement effective policies and strategies, but also to foster a positive mindset change among its people. Mindset is the way we think about ourselves and our abilities, which affects our behavior and outcomes. While mindsets can be helpful for distilling information and managing expectations, they can also be maladaptive, lead to interpersonal problems and feelings of guilt, inadequacy, sadness and anxiety1. Therefore, it is important to cultivate a growth mindset, which is the belief that one can improve one’s skills and talents through effort and learning, rather than a fixed mindset, which is the belief that one’s abilities are innate and unchangeable.
A growth mindset can help Malawians overcome the challenges they face and achieve their development goals by:
- Enhancing their motivation and resilience to persevere in the face of difficulties and failures
- Encouraging them to seek feedback and learn from their mistakes
- Promoting their creativity and innovation
- Increasing their confidence and self-efficacy
- Improving their academic performance and career prospects
In addition to mindset change, Malawians also need to cultivate patriotism, integrity and ethics as core values for their development. Patriotism is the love of one’s country and the willingness to sacrifice for its well-being. Integrity is the adherence to moral principles and honesty in one’s actions. Ethics is the application of moral reasoning and judgment to guide one’s decisions and behavior.
Patriotism, integrity and ethics can help Malawians develop their country by:
- Inspiring them to work hard and contribute to the national vision
- Strengthening their sense of belonging and identity
- Fostering social cohesion and unity
- Reducing corruption and enhancing transparency
- Promoting civic participation and accountability
- Upholding human rights and justice
- Creating value for society
Therefore, mindset change, patriotism, integrity and ethics are essential for Malawi’s development. They can be nurtured through various means, such as education, media, role models, incentives, sanctions, and social norms. By adopting these values, Malawians can transform their destiny and create a better future for themselves and their country.