Economic direction worries Malawians -Afrobarometer study – Capital Radio Malawi
14 April, 2024

Economic direction worries Malawians -Afrobarometer study

Economic situation is poor in Malawi

In the face of persistent economic challenges worsened by global crises and internal factors, a recent survey conducted by Afrobarometer, in collaboration with the University of Malawi and the University of Nairobi, reveals a bleak outlook among ordinary Malawians.

The survey, paints a grim picture of the country’s economic trajectory, with a vast majority expressing dissatisfaction with the government’s performance and little hope for improvement in the near future.

The socio-economic landscape of Malawi has long been characterized by a contradiction of potential and challenges.

Despite abundant resources and human capital, poverty, unemployment, and limited access to essential services have suppressed the nation.

Recent disruptions, which include the Covid-19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war and Cyclone Freddy, have further worsened the situation, leading to high inflation, shortages of petrol and foreign currency -significant devaluation of the Malawian kwacha.

According to the survey findings, nearly nine out of 10 Malawians (89%) believe the country is heading in the wrong direction, marking a substantial increase from previous years.

Economic conditions are a primary concern, with 85% describing the country’s economic situation as “fairly bad” or “very bad,” and 74% expressing similar sentiments about their personal living conditions.

Looking ahead, only 16% of respondents believe things will improve in the next 12 months, while a staggering 63% anticipate further deterioration.

The government’s handling of the economy is heavily criticized, with more than eight in 10 citizens rating its performance as “fairly badly” or “very badly.”

The report state; “Negative assessments of the country’s direction are most common among rural residents (90%) and younger respondents (90%-92% of those aged 18-45) (Figure 2). They increase with respondents’ experience of lived poverty, ranging from 83% of better-off citizens to 92% of the poorest.”

Key economic indicators such as stabilizing prices, reducing income inequality, improving living standards for the poor, and creating job opportunities receive particularly negative assessments. As a result, economic management emerges as the top priority for government intervention, cited by 56% of respondents.

On a household level, the survey highlights the persistent impact of economic hardships, with a majority of respondents experiencing frequent shortages of basic necessities.

Cash income emerges as the most pressing concern, with 93% of respondents reporting going without income at least once in the past year. Food shortages, lack of medical care, and insufficient access to clean water and cooking fuel further compound the challenges faced by Malawian households.

“For Malawians, the most frequent unmet need is a cash income: More than nine in 10 respondents (93%) say they went without an income at least once during the previous year, including 63% who say this happened “many times” or “always,” the survey stated

As the country grapples with multifaceted challenges including global economic uncertainties and internal governance issues, citizens’ voices emphasize the urgent need for concerted efforts to address economic woes and improve livelihoods.

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