THE PRACTICALITY OF OVERARCHING DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES IN ADDRESSING DEVELOPMENT CHALLENGES: CRITICAL LESSONS FROM PAST EXPERIENCES AND THE CASE OF THE MALAWI GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY (MGDS
By Wongani Mugaba and Pearson Nkhoma
Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world despite many development strategies having been championed ever since colonial times either by the government or by other numerous development partners. Efforts to formulate policies and programmes with the aim of combating gravitating development challenges like poverty, illiteracy and unfair trade among others, have been made and keep mushrooming. However, with all these efforts, the economic and poverty status of Malawi persists in the doldrums. Malawi now ranks among the 10 most impoverished countries worldwide.
Currently, the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS), coming from an era of implementing the Malawi Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper(MPRSP), is one of such mainstream policies which the current government has put in place to address the country’s development challenges. The policy aims at guiding governmental undertakings while other stakeholders are expected to compliment their efforts by aligning and harmonizing their programmes and activities inline with the priorities the MGDS sets out. However, with these past experiences, can the MGDS defy the odds and register excellent positive results?
It is in this line of thought that it is instructive to assess the MGDS in context of previous efforts to gauge whether it will make any sustainable difference or not. Apart from the fact that overall policies are too general and have rarely been implemented to the brim to match their stipulated period, such policies face a critical defect as they are not legally binding that development agencies and even government have ended up ignoring them. The paper will therefore also appraise some factors which made past strategies fail to yield sustainable results. The paper will also outline prospective challenges for the MGDS. The assessment will mainly rely on literature reviews but we will also conduct some field interviews with some key stakeholders regarding the status and practicality of the MGDS in addressing the development challenges which past strategies have failed to eradicate.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
All the authors are Third Year students at Chancellor College pursuing Bachelor of Arts (Media for Development Communication) studies. Their focus of study include; Development, media and journalism, human rights, advocacy and communication for Development.
The authors are upcoming researchers who presented a paper at the “2007 National Language Symposium” by the University of Malawi’s Centre of Language Studies titled, The Role of Local Languages in Achieving Socio-Economic Development: A Critical Analysis on how Usage of Local Languages in Development Strategies and Development Fora can Accelerate Development and Attainment of the MDG’S in Malawi?
They are also freelance writers for National print media, the Sunday Times and Malawi News and have published articles in areas to do with national development.