The Malawi Priorities Project
Malawi Priorities was a project designed to help Malawi determine policy priorities so as to do more with each Kwacha that the country spends. The aim of the Malawi Priorities Project was to provide the government and its development partners with a systematic process to help prioritise the most effective policy solutions so as to maximize social and economic benefits of the investments. The project facilitated the prioritisation of policy options for the country based on cost-benefit analyses. The project also sought to identify interventions that enable the government to generate more financial resources to finance its development agenda. This was achieved through academic research, stakeholder engagement and a targeted outreach strategy to determine the best investments.
The Malawi Priorities approach worked with a range of stakeholders and partners to identify the most urgent issues and establish as many of the most promising solutions to optimal resource generation and utilisation. These solutions will range across many different policy areas, including agriculture commercialisation, industrialization, urbanization, energy and infrastructure development, education, health, governance, water, sanitation, environment. Representatives from across Malawi helped pick a select number of the most important solutions to be analysed. The project then brought together the best local, regional and international academic experts employed the cost-benefit analysis together with sector experts’ input, broad stakeholder engagement, and extensive policy outreach to
The Malawi National Planning Commission (NPC) reviewed Malawi’s long-term national development plan, Vision 2020, with a view to beginning the development of a successor vision, National Transformation (NT) 2063. The NPC carried out a mid-term review of the current medium-term national development strategy, the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS) III. The Malawi Priorities informed the discourse around Malawi’s long-term aspirations and the development pathways that inform the development of the NT 2063. More importantly, the priorities to be defined at the sector level informed subsequent medium-term development plans that will operationalise the NT2063.
The NPC with the technical support from the Copenhagen Consensus Centre (CCC) and AFIDEP submitted to the Malawi Presidential Taskforce on COVID a cost-benefit analysis report on COVID-19.
The Malawi Priorities was supporting evidence-based planning and implementation of Malawi’s inclusive and sustainable socio-economic transformation agenda:
The project was coordinated by the National Planning Commission (NPC), with support from the African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP). The academic research was coordinated by the Copenhagen Consensus Centre (CCC) who pioneered the methodology for economic analysis coupled with a cost-benefit analysis to produce comparable returns on investment of a range of interventions. The economic research was supported by economists at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) and local eminent economists. The importance of having the project coordinated by NPC, supported by AFIDEP was to ensure its institutionalisation in government systems and relevance to the Malawi context so as to maximise the uptake of the findings.
The project built on experience and lessons with the priorities approach in other countries, including Haiti, Bangladesh, and India (with largely successful outcomes), and is currently ongoing in Ghana. Some outcomes from these and other experiences can be accessed on https://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/our-impact