Economist urges African countries to indigenise economies

Renowned economics professor and author Chinyamata Chipeta has tipped Sub Saharan African countries and Malawi, in particular, to indigenise their economic policies rather than borrowing wholesomely policies from Western countries.

Chipeta, who taught economics at the Chancellor College and other universities outside the country, observed on Wednesday that conventional economics (economics education modelled on European and/or non-African traditions, cultures and values) have failed to bring the desired socio-economic transformation to Africa.

Chipeta: African Governments need to model their economies based our cultural and situational values and principles.

He was speaking in Lilongwe when he presented a lecture at Unicaf University.

He also faulted the teaching of conventional economics in African universities and schools; arguing the implication is that Sub Saharan African universities and schools teach economics that reflects European and North American cultural features instead of African features.

Explained Chipeta: “Conventional economics has contributed significantly to the slow socio-economic development in Africa because authors of this (conventional) economics do not appreciate other cultures. Thus, African countries, including Malawi, cannot develop; we are modelling our policies on conventional economics, which is not modelled on our cultural beliefs and values. It’s not responding to our situation and context.”

He also challenged that authors of conventional economics do not understand economic systems other than capitalism with which they are familiar.

Chipeta stated that applying conventional economics to Sub-Saharan African countries such as Malawi has led to numerous distortions/falsifications as it is based on a different set of conditions by teachers, researchers, policy makers, regional and international development agencies.

He therefore advised existing institutions of higher learning and those contemplating establishing new ones to seriously consider setting up home-grown institutions.

“Existing and new institutions of higher learning and universities should be benchmarked on syllabi that are modelled on indigenous context and situation. I also believe it is high time psychologists started teaching/counselling African leaders so that they build confidence in themselves because it’s not every idea that is foreign that is good to us.

“We need to build self-confidence. China has managed to grow its economy because it refused to copy all the ideas from Europe,” emphasised the retired economics professor.

Economics Consultative Association of Malawi (Ecama) president Henry Kachaje recently also urged institutions of higher learning to introduce and adopt courses and training modalities that are in tandem with the current trends in the nation.

Unicaf University vice chancellor Professor Joseph Kuthemba Mwale said his institution will be organising public lectures every two months to raise awareness on various issues, including social and economic affairs.


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