Development experts say transparency and accountability remain key to the country’s economic growth, adding that the two principles help to allocate resources rightly and bring economic transformation.
This was the view of the speakers at the third Ndizotheka Imminent Speaker Series organised by the National Planning Commission (NPC) in collaboration with the African Institute for Development Policy (Afidep).
Speaking at the event, Ghanaian development expert Francis Dodoo, who is also board chairperson of Afidep, said the most common problem in African countries, including Malawi, is the fear to do things differently to achieve development.
He said leaders mostly do not take tough decisions for fear of being hated or becoming unpopular among the citizens, resulting in lack of tangible progress.
Said Dodoo: “The problem with Africa is that leaders do not reward good behaviour and they don’t punish bad behaviour; hence, people don’t value the importance of doing good things.
“When you are a custodian of resources, you need to be prudent enough knowing it is a community that we try to serve. The reason people fail to do things differently is because of perception. We want people to see us as being good and nice to them at the expense of national good.”
He said leaders need to set rules, take tough decisions even when they know people will not be happy because it is the only right thing to do.
On his part, Afidep country director NyovaniMadise called for concerted efforts to ensure everyone is involved in the drive for mindset change to achieve desired development.
“I am convinced that if we actually start to talk about mindset change, that we need to live as men and women of integrity, and that we need to be professional in our jobs, and that we need to be accountable to the people who have given us the jobs, those who elected us, then we can begin to see change,” she said.
NPC director general Thomas ChataghalalaMunthali said he was encouraged to see Malawians participating in the discussion about how the country can achieve tangible development.
“The discussion about how do we get a future that we want was very important. Today we partnered Afidep, they are important partners because they are a policy research institution that will help us to have evidence-based information for national planning.
“We cannot develop our national plans if we do not have candid discussions. When we talk about leadership mindset change, it’s not just about politicians, but each one of us starting from the family level, community, institution and at national level to pull together in one development direction,” he said.
Parliament’s Budget and Finance Committee chairperson SostenGwengwe said citizen participation is key to achieving national development.
He bemoaned the disjointed fight against corruption and bad governance.
The third imminent speaker series was held under the theme Towards Greater Accountability: Transforming Cultures of Organisations.