Malawi leader Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, has says Malawi needs to take advantage of the international support to address challenges such as high unemployment rate and poverty levels.
President Chakwera was addressing participants at the Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection for Just Transitions event held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, USA on Sunday.
He applauded the UN Secretary-General for launching the Global Accelerator initiative which aims at propelling economic recovery, promoting decent jobs, and ensuring social protection for member states.
The President told the gathering that 89 percent of Malawians employed in the informal sector face challenges such as low wages, limited social protection, and skill gaps.
He added that macroeconomic shocks such as Cyclone Freddy have compounded the challenges.
“With over half of our population living below the poverty line, addressing these issues is crucial for our long-term stability and development,” said Chakwera.
To address our labour, employment, and social protection challenges, we are aligning with the strategy to rapidly expand social protection and create quality jobs.”
“Our comprehensive roadmap focuses on economic diversification, increased job opportunities, and enhanced social protection, in line with our MW2063 goals and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” he said.
“It is thus imperative that we seize available opportunities to expedite economic recovery and national progress,” he added.
President Chakwera said his government has prioritised the Agricultural, Tourism and mining sectors as drivers that would earn quick returns in reversing the fortunes of the country.
He said through diversification, mechanisation and value addition, the agricultural sector which contributes 25 percent of the GDP and 80 percent of employment, could boost productivity and generate decent jobs.
“We emphasise private sector investment and innovation to drive these initiatives in agriculture.
Our efforts at expanding Agri-TVET programmes will equip the youth with modern skills and entrepreneurial capabilities, thus covering the identified gaps,” he said.
On tourism, President Chakwera said Malawi, widely called the Warm Heart of Africa, has stunning landscapes and vibrant culture, which elevates her tourism potential.
“As such, the tourism sector is poised to significantly impact the economy by generating employment across various services such as dining, lodging, transportation, and guided tours.
Recognising tourism as a key export industry, we are committed to expanding opportunities for our citizens to provide goods and services to visitors,” he said.
He also said his administration was committed to accelerating strategies for the growth of small and medium-scale mining through innovation, value addition, and formalisation while at the same time ensuring access to financial services and market linkages for small-scale miners.
“Strengthening partnerships between mining companies and communities will enhance employment creation and economic empowerment, supported by corporate social responsibility and social protection initiatives,” said President Chakwera.
He added that the government would focus on building entrepreneurship and value addition skills to enable active participation in mining activities, fostering job creation for men, women, and the youth.