Economics Association of Malawi (Ecama) says engaging youths in universities in economics discourse is key to achieving Malawi 2063 (MW2063), the country’s long-term development plan.
Ecama secretary general Andrew Kumbatira said this on Thursday in Lilongwe on the sidelines of semi-finals of the university students’ debates jointly organised by Ecama, Oxfam in Malawi and Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar).
He said: “Some of us may not be there in 2063, but the current youths are the ones who are going to implement and enjoy the fruits of the plan and, therefore, it is important that they participate in coming up with ideas on what they want to see in 2063.
“If the youth are not involved, it means there is absenteeism. Our mission is to provide practical solutions to Malawi’s development challenges and opportunities.”
Kumbatira said through the debates, Ecama is providing an opportunity to the youth to identify various economic ideas and become aware of the various public finance management (PFM) systems, challenges and opportunities for Malawi.
“It is our belief that the views expressed by the youth feed in one way or the other into decision-making by policymakers,” he said.
Ministry of Finance director of PFM systems Monaosyile Mhango said the debates are important as they involve youths in open policy dialogue, thereby encouraging them to participate in shaping the country’s development agenda.
She said considering that the country has a youthful population, it is important to involve and equip them in policy formulation and undertaking of various developmental activities.
“The future is bright as we are involving the youth from an early age in accordance with Malawi 2063,” said Mhango.
After the semi-final debates, University of Malawi (Unima) and Blantyre International University (BIU) reached the final of the competition.
To reach the final, Unima beat Luanar while BIU beat Malawi Assemblies of God University.
In an interview, BIU student Anthony Botha said the youth are the hub for innovation and new ideas.
“If government is engaging them to organise their views and ideas into the planning section, then the country’s development will be enhanced,” he said.
The debates involved eight of the country’s selected public and private universities.