Malawi - Future trends

Although Malawi has made important strides towards political openness and economic reform, its future remains troubled. Progress has been painfully slow, marred by corruption scandals in the government, and punctuated by economic crises that have upset the reform process. Finding itself in a delicate situation, the government is obliged to impose tough austerity measures to satisfy donors, but knows that doing so will carry a heavy political cost at home. Regionally, too, the uncertainty that Malawi faces— with Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Angola in various stages of turmoil—will require careful negotiation. However, despite some voter disenchantment, the transition to democracy (still ongoing) has been smooth, and Malawi's political situation is secure. The government has established an Anti-Corruption Bureau to ensure tighter standards of accountability, and launched its "ten point" plan in 2000, promising more consistent adherence to reform measures. If agricultural yields continue to be good, if international aid donors continue to offer their support, and if the Malawian government continues to prioritize poverty reduction, Malawi's economic future holds some promise of hope.

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