Social safety nets yet toimpact poverty—Ecama

Social safety nets yet toimpact poverty—Ecama

Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama) says challenges affecting interventions the Malawi Government has been implementing to respond to economic shocks are yet to have an impact on poverty fight.

Ecama’s comments come against the background of published data by the American Institute for Research in collaboration with the Centre for Social Research of the University of Malawi, showing that between 2019 and 2023, headcount poverty, the percentage of a population living below the national poverty line, has increased slightly by 1.8 percentage points while ultra-poverty increased by 2.6 percentage points.

Bangara-Chikadza: It has affect the economy

In a written response on Tuesday, Ecama acting president Bertha Bangara Chikadza said rising poverty levels present a significant hurdle to achieving the middle-income status envisaged in Malawi 2063, the country’s long-term development strategy.

She said: “The growing poverty exuberated by shocks the country has experienced have adversely affected both economic growth and productivity, such that high poverty rates limit access to necessities such as food and water and also hinder participation in income-generating activities.”

Chikadza said persistent poverty jeopardises social stability, leading to infrastructure damage and loss of life which further impedes economic development.

She said while Malawi has implemented several strategies and programmes to respond to shocks, challenges remain, including improving programme coordination, enhancing early warning systems and investing in climate-smart agriculture.

Centre for Social Concern economic governance officer Agnes Nyirongo observed that wealth concentration in a small number of hands has the potential to worsen social unrest and restrict prospects for people at the bottom of the economic scale.

“In order to combat poverty, it is necessary to both elevate individuals out of acute hardship and make sure that economic possibilities are shared more fairly throughout society,” she said.

In his 2024/25 National Budget Statement, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Simplex Chithyola Banda said as authorities move to rebuild the economy post-cyclone Freddy, government will continue to provide poverty reduction and social protection to the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.

“Government is collaborating with non-governmental organisations, the private sector, development partners, and community leaders to improve livelihoods, economic welfare and the dignity of targeted populations,” he said.

Among others, Malawi has been implementing the Social Cash Transfer Programme, providing regular and predictable cash transfers to ultra-poor and labour-constrained households to reduce poverty, hunger, and malnutrition.

The post Social safety nets yet toimpact poverty—Ecama first appeared on Nation Online.

The post Social safety nets yet toimpact poverty—Ecama appeared first on Nation Online.