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Mr Gwanda Chakuamba (2003)

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

We can’t develop overnight—Mwadiwa

by The Nation

Government says although the country is
registering economic growth it would be folly to expect immediate
impact in terms of development.

A joint United Nations (UN) and African Union (AU) 2008 Economic
Report for Africa (ERA) published on April 2 indicates that although
Africa has registered robust economic growth in recent years, the
continent is still backwards in terms of development.

Africa is expected to register a 6.2 percent growth this year, according to the report.

Reacting to the report, secretary to the Treasury Radson Mwadiwa
said a nation cannot register meaningful development simply on the
basis of economic growth achieved over a short period.

"Do you expect a country to develop over an economic growth of one year?" Quizzed Mwadiwa.

Action Aid head of policy Collins Magalasi said Africa is achieving
economic growth even surpassing developed countries such as United
States of America.

"Malawi economy grew by 8.5 percent last year and is expected to
grow by over 7.1 percent this year as compared to less than 1 percent
economic growth for USA," said Magalasi.

He echoed Mwadiwa’s sentiments, saying it was too early for people
to start realising the fruits of the robust economic performance.

"It is like a race. We are speeding at 8 kilometres per hour, while
America and other developed countries are speeding at 1 kilometre per
hour. However, despite our high speed, we are 50 kilometres behind,"
said Magalasi.

The 2008 ERA report says economic growth in Africa has been triggered by "robust global demand and high commodity prices."

The report also points out continued consolidation of macroeconomic
stability and improved macroeconomic management, greater commitment to
economic reforms, increased private capital flows, debt relief and
increasing non-fuel exports as other factors.

The report, however, says Africa remains vulnerable to external
shocks like a sharp slowdown in the US economy, a fall in global
commodity demand and prices and high oil prices

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