The 2022 Economic Freedom Index shows that Malawi’s economy is mostly unfree with statistics showing that economic freedom has been quite weak over the last five years.
The index, published by the Heritage Foundation, shows that Malawi now ranks 134 out of 174 economies, with a score of 53 percent which is way below its peers in the sub-Saharan Africa region.
The data shows that Malawi’s economic freedom continues to deteriorate primarily reflecting short falls in government integrity.
Reads the report in part: “Malawi’s economic growth has continued at an uneven pace over the past five years in the process economic freedom also continued to be quite weak during that period.
“With generally higher scores for rule of law edging out a decline in fiscal health, Malawi has ranked poorly on economic freedom since 2017 and remains among the lower ranks of the mostly unfree countries.”
The index evaluates the extent and effectiveness of government activity in 12 areas known to have a significant impact on levels of economic growth and prosperity.
The areas include property rights, judicial effectiveness, government integrity, tax burden, government spending, fiscal health, business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom, trade freedom, investment freedom and financial freedom, which allow greater freedom in any of the areas measured that tend to spur growth.
The Heritage Foundation president Kevin Roberts is quoted in a statementas having said that in times of uncertainty induced by the Covid-19 pandemic, economies should promote economic freedom
He said: “Since early 2020, the global economy has dealt with one of the greatest political, social, and economic upheavals the world has faced.
“The economic livelihoods of millions of people have been deeply disrupted not only by the health impacts of the pandemic, but also by governments’ responses to it in the form of lockdowns, travel bans and restrictions on commerce and trade.”
Malawi University of Business and Applied Scinces associate professor of economics Betchani Tchereni said in an interview on Tuesday that Malawi needs step up the fight against corruption by not only attesting, but successfully prosecuting them too.
He said: “Economic freedom is measured on a number of issues, but we must strive to strike a balance in how we fair.
“We must show that we are doing everything possible to make doing business in Malawi easy and cheaper too as this is the only sustainable way.”
Economist Exley Silumbu said on Tuesday Malawi needs to improve the welfare of its people, adding that it is important for government to ensure that the people are free, developing and moving out of poverty.