Behold the emerging new transformation agenda amidst COVID 19
The COVID 19 Pandemic emerged just after the official launch of public consultations on February 28, 2020 on the envisioned National Transformation 2063. But that did not stop the National Planning Commission from continuing to consult Malawians on what they want as their next national development vision.
Instead of planned physical meetings which had started with stakeholder meetings prior to the launch and before COVID 19 and which were to take us to all corners of the country holding meetings with various sections of the citizenry, we decided to take advantage of the power of radio and internet as well as the growing usage of mobile phone technology in Malawi to continue engaging the people on the new Vision.
Indeed, through the phone-in radio programmes on MBC Radio One, Times Radio and Zodiak held almost every day in the month of April 2020, we heard from thousands of Malawians of different ages, gender and from all districts of the country who enthusiastically called or texted us live on radio, sharing their ideas on wealth creation for all to the year 2063. Even more contributions poured in through our website where we posted a digital survey as well as through Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, emails and even by ordinary post. We also partnered with Unicef through their innovative U-Report digital platform where we were able to solicit views from over 36,000 youths. We witnessed amazing passion, hope and excitement among ordinary Malawians.
From those contributions which were meticulously recorded and professionally analysed by our development planners, preliminary findings and an initial framework have emerged which are giving a clear indication of what Malawians want the country to achieve in the years between 2021 and 2063. Inclusive wealth creation and self-reliance appears to be the emerging vision with agriculture productivity, industrialisation and urbanisation following as the main supporting pillars. To attain success in those key areas, Malawians want the country to prioritise investment in Positive Mind-set Change, Effective Governance Systems, Enhanced Public Sector Performance, Private Sector Dynamismt, Human Capital Development, Economic Infrastructure and Environmental Sustainability as enablers of the new vision. All these, according to people’s views, should be youth driven and achieved in a technologically driven economic environment.
We are now back on the radio and TV stations with 66 different live phone-in programmes lined up for the months of June and July 2020, taking back the preliminary findings to the people so that they can confirm, adjust, add or subtract to the findings and enable us continue moulding the vision with maximum input from the people. Plans are underway to also take the consultative process to community radio stations with the aim of reaching out electronically even to the remotest corners of the country.
We still remain hopeful that COVID 19 will ease soon to enable us physically go all regions of the country and hear more views from Malawians on the emerging vision.