Whither MIP-1 Implementation with this Cyclone Freddy
Malawi has recently been hit by another cyclone that has led to loss of life, property – including crops and livestock – public infrastructure and destruction of livelihoods. Cyclone Freddy has negatively affected scores of families in many districts in the southern and eastern regions of the country where large areas were subjected to adverse weather storms within the month of March 2023.
Many people have been displaced as their houses, especially those in flood prone areas, were raised down by heavy rains and strong winds. The cyclone has left the affected districts in a serious state of disaster and has affected power supply throughout most parts of the country. The rebuilding process will therefore require a lot of work and resources through collective responsibility.
Cyclone Freddy has certainly come too hard on Malawi considering that the country is yet to fully recover from cyclone Anna that stormed the country earlier in 2022, also causing heavy damages to livelihoods, property and public infrastructure. This has been in addition to the lingering effects of the Covid 19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war and a cholera outbreak that have caused serious disruptions to the stability of the Malawi economy.
The obvious question that is asked when such disasters and shocks happen is how implementation of the Malawi 2063 national vision will be affected.
In the formulation of the Malawi 2063 and its First 10-Year Implementation Plan (MIP-1), it was clearly recognised that various challenges and risks will be experienced, hence the need to include mitigation measures in all our planning and implementation.
Some of the risks and threats identified in the Malawi 2063 include harsh weather patterns such the cyclones and droughts as well as external and domestically-induced shocks.
Given that these risks are known, what is important for Malawi is to embrace robust strategies to manage their impacts on the economy and ultimately, the realization of the national vision.
Disasters and other shocks are part of life and Malawi will continue to face them going forward. What will make the difference is how prepared we are for such calamities as that is what determines how we respond to and recover from their effects. This is an aspect that has been thoroughly articulated in the MW2063 and MIP-1. Moving forward therefore, the expectation is that the adoption of disaster risk management and resilience strategies should always be part and parcel of our planning and implementation, including in the realization of the MW2063. Hard political decisions have to be made including clearly adhering to set laws that prevent settlements in disaster prone areas – this should not be negotiable.
It will take a lot of time, work, resources and sacrifices for Malawi to recover. However, if we do the right things as a nation which we already know but sometimes pay a blind eye to, we should be able to pull through from Cyclone Freddy and the other recently experienced disasters, and still be able to attract investments towards realizing our 2030 MIP-1 targets of graduating Malawi into a middle-income economy and meeting most of the Sustainable Development Goals.