Presidential elections in June 2020, a re-run of the canceled 2019
elections, resulted in a change of government, with President Chakwera securing 59
percent of the vote. The new administration is facing a rapid acceleration of COVID-19
cases in Malawi and adverse spillovers from continued deterioration of the global and
regional economic situation, significantly worsening the macroeconomic outlook.
Consequently, an additional urgent balance of payments need of 2.9 percent of GDP
has arisen—bringing the total external financing gap in 2020 to 5.0 percent of GDP. The
authorities have requested an additional disbursement of 52.1 percent of quota (SDR
72.31 million) under the “exogenous shock” window of the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF),
where 30 percent of the disbursement would finance the government budget. This
follows the May 1, 2020 Board approval of a 47.9 percent of quota RCF disbursement
(without budget support). The authorities have cancelled the Extended Credit Facility
(ECF) and expressed a strong interest in discussing a new ECF—better aligned with their
new long-term growth and reform strategy—once conditions permit.
This paper discusses Malawi’s Request for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF). The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic is having a severe impact on Malawi, creating an urgent balance of payments need. The authorities have been proactive in mitigating the impact of the pandemic, including through increased spending on health care and social assistance, supporting small and medium enterprises, bolstering farmers’ incomes and ensuring food security through purchase and storage of agricultural harvests, and easing liquidity constraints in the banking system. The IMF’s emergency financing under the RCF is expected to help the authorities meet the large external financing gap and catalyze further assistance from the international community. Additional concessional donor support will be critical to close the remaining external financing gap and facilitate the needed interventions to ease the economic and social impacts of the pandemic, while preserving Malawi’s hard-earned macroeconomic stability. A widening of the budget deficit is appropriate in the near-term, given the fiscal costs associated with the economic slowdown and critical additional health care and social spending needs, which should be executed transparently and targeted to the most affected parts of society.
This Technical Assistance report assesses the state of public investment management (PIM) in Malawi. Measured against the overall strength of its PIM institutions, Malawi performs broadly in line with other low-income developing countries and sub-Saharan African countries, but less well than better-performing emerging markets. Measures of institutional strength show how well Malawi rates in terms of its existing laws and regulations, as well as the formal guidelines and instructions issued by the government to implement these laws. The public investment management assessment diagnostic tool also measures how effectively, in practice, the government implements and enforces these laws and regulations. On this measure of effectiveness, Malawi performs relatively poorly. Looking at individual indicators of PIM, Malawi’s performance is mixed.
This 2018 Article IV Consultation highlights that the economy of Malawi recently rebounded from two years of drought. Growth picked up from 2.3 percent in 2016 to an estimated 4.0 percent in 2017 owing to a recovery in agricultural production. Inflation has been reduced below 10 percent owing to the stabilization of food prices, prudent fiscal and monetary policies, and a stable exchange rate. Economic growth is expected to increase gradually, reaching over 6 percent in the medium term. Growth will be supported by enhanced infrastructure investment and social services as well as an improved business environment, which will boost confidence and unlock the economy’s potential for higher, more broad-based, and resilient growth and employment.
This Selected Issues paper benchmarks Malawi’s public spending and identifies areas where there is scope to improve expenditure efficiency. Malawi performs poorly in health and education spending efficiency. Spending in these areas will need to be stepped up to achieve better living standards and higher, more inclusive growth. A rebalancing of the composition of education and health spending—including greater prioritization of low cost-high impact spending and balancing maintenance against capital spending—would yield immediate results in both health and education. Strengthening the public expenditure management chain, especially procurement and supply management, will be important. These reforms would go hand in hand with greater fiscal transparency and accountability in these sectors.
This Technical Assistance Report discusses the technical advice and recommendations of the IMF mission to the authorities of Malawi regarding strengthening fundamental controls and reporting. The government is determined to restore control over public funds. Considerable progress has been made on the reconciliation of the 2015/16 transactions of selected bank accounts. Issues related to transactions before 2015/16 should be investigated and resolved. The auditor general and the Central Internal Audit Unit (CIAU) are investigating unmatched or potentially duplicate payments for 2009–June 2015. It is recommended that the accountant general investigate possible duplicate payments identified by the CIAU.
This paper discusses Malawi’s Ninth Review Under the Extended Credit Facility Arrangement and Request for Waivers for Nonobservance of performance criteria. Real GDP growth is expected to range between 4–5 percent in 2017 owing to a good agricultural harvest and its expected spillovers to other sectors of the economy. Growth prospects, however, will be constrained by persistent power blackouts, water shortages, and access to credit. Real growth is expected to gradually increase over the medium term as macroeconomic conditions stabilize and investment and consumption levels rise. The outlook remains challenging, reflecting uncertainties related to weather conditions, the impact of the fall armyworm infestation on food crops and risks of policy slippages.
This Economic development Document presents an overview of Malawi’s Development Plan. Disappointing results with respect to implementation of Malawi Growth and Development Strategy II have triggered a qualified rethink in Malawi’s development planning process. There is a growing recognition that Malawi needs a more realistic development plan, in terms of both the underlying assumptions and resource availability, as well as with fewer priorities and a greater emphasis on implementation. Climate change has also become a major new factor in this process. The recent formation of a quasi-independent National Development and Planning Commission is expected to help in improving the independence of the planning process in Malawi.