COVID-19 poses real risks for the attainment of Malawi’s national development aspirations as espoused in the new long-term development Vision, Malawi 2063 (MW2063); as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In addition to declined economic activities and growth rates, COVID-19-related threats include the erosion of domestic institutional capacities; reversal of recent achievements in health and education; and reversal of trade and private sector investment streams, which had brightened in recent years. Further, social insecurity has heightened, with the evolving situation exposing various deficiencies in the healthcare system which need to be addressed urgently. Furthermore, with large numbers of job losses in the formal sector, the informal sector has ceased to play an effective role of absorbing shock for alternative livelihoods, as the latter has not been spared from the COVID-19 induced decline.
Within the context of international best practice, the Socio-Economic Recovery Plan (SERP) has been developed through an extensive evidence-based consultative process that drew from recent studies on the impact of COVID-19 and the spill-over effects. The consultative process included insights, data and information on the pandemic provided by state and non-state actors. Sectoral and other central Government experts identified the priorities for redress under the SERP. Accordingly, the SERP supports and aligns to the following existing frameworks and plans: (a) MW2063; (b) Malawi 2063 First 10-Year Implementation Plan (MIP-1); (c) UN Framework for The Immediate Socio- Economic Response to COVID-19; (d) National COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan; (e) Global World Health Organization's Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan; and (f) UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The SERP also recognizes that recovery from COVID-19 will require collaborative and multi-dimensional efforts; coordinated action across local communities; civil society; private sector; micro, small and medium enterprises; informal sector; and national and local Government structures. This collaboration will facilitate recovery in the health sector and other severely affected sectors; and deal with the numerous socio- economic challenges encountered, while bearing in mind the specific needs and roles of women, youth, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable groups that bear the brunt of the compound effect of COVID-19.
Broadly, the aim of the SERP, which covers the period 2021-2023, is to enhance the capacity of Malawi and its people to effectively recover and build back better from the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; and facilitate the transition to the effective implementation and realization of its development aspirations as espoused under MW2063. As such, the SERP priorities intervetions within the MIP- 1, that would help accelerate the recovery. One key principle driving the SERP is front-loading of interventions (especially economic infrastructure) that have high probability of stimulating private sector investments capable of optimising production for local and export markets thereby creating jobs and stabilizing prices especially imported inflation on a sustainable basis.