Jul 21, 2017 Last Updated 2:00 PM, Jul 21, 2017
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Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world and its economy is worsening.

Malawians are struggling to earn enough money to feed their families.

As such earning a living, is vital for survival.

To make matters worse, Malawi is also facing a serious youth unemployment crisis and the highest working poverty rate in the world.

The working poor are working people whose income falls below the given poverty line.

According to a 2013 report b the National Statistical Office and he International Labour Organisation, only 11.3% of the working population is in formal employment.

A large part of the population is left to fend for themselves with over 54% being self-employed.

If young people are to succeed in the global job market, there needs to be a stronger focus on entrepreneurial education.

High unemployment levels co-exist with increased difficulties in filling vacancies.

For instance, most job applications leave a lot to be desired

As a result, potential employers are left with no option but to advertise for people with many years of experience.

This however raises concerns amongst young people, who feel that they are not being given an opportunity to get a job after leaving college.

Some young people find it difficult to explore alternative business avenues.

They feel that certain jobs are area specific.

For example urban youth will not venture into farming because the job requires one to mainly work in a rural area.

However, investing into modern agriculture can be very successful in meeting the growing demand for food by Malawi’s population and also yield good financial returns.

Most young people I’ve spoken to mainly want to venture into business in the cities.

Our current education system needs support if it is going to adapt to such challenges.

Tools, such as entrepreneurship education, show good results because they focus on soft and core skills, including: problem-solving as well as team-building.

It is also essential for young people to obtain other skills such as learning to learn, social, initiative-taking, entrepreneurship, and cultural awareness.

Entrepreneurship education not only enables young people to start a successful business, but also to become valuable contributors to Malawi's economy.

Even in the most advanced education systems, however, entrepreneurship education lies in the hands of the few secondary school teachers who've been properly trained.

One would ask; has vocational education training been given the attention it deserves?

To address these issues the country must generate greater awareness of the benefits of entrepreneurship education.

Malawians also need to focus on teachers who do not have access to the training to deliver entrepreneurial learning. 

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved the disbursement of $26.9 Million to Malawi under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) programme. 

The program is aimed at the achievement and maintenance of macroeconomic stability and implementation of policies and structural reforms to spur growth diversify the economy and reduce poverty.

The approval follows the completion of the ninth and final review of Malawi’s economic performance under the ECF arrangement by the IMF Board.

This brings total disbursements to Malawi under the arrangement to $191.4 million.

In a statement released after the meeting, IMF Deputy Managing Director Mitsuhiro Furusawa observed that Malawi’s economy has been severely hit by two consecutive years of weather-related shocks, which placed an estimated 40 percent of the population at risk of food insecurity.

He added that relief efforts helped stabilise maize prices and alleviate the adverse impact of the drought on the vulnerable population adding that the increase of access under the ECF arrangement and sizable contributions from development partners enabled the authorities to address the worst humanitarian crisis in its history.

The Fund, however, projects that Real GDP Growth is expected to pick up in 2017 due to better prospects for agricultural output, including the maize harvest.

It also added that Annual inflation is also expected to remain on a downward trend. However, the macroeconomic outlook remains challenging, reflecting uncertainties related to adverse weather conditions and policy slippages.

The IMF further advises that the near-term policy mix should centre on reducing inflation by combining tight monetary and fiscal policies by limiting expenditures to available resources and that monetary policy should aim at maintaining positive short-term real money market interest rates.

The government is also being pushed to strengthen public financial management, including through strong commitment controls, routine bank reconciliations, and regular fiscal reporting.

The Fund stresses that this remains critical to preventing the misappropriation of public funds and rebuilding trust and confidence in the budget process.

Improved revenue mobilization and expenditure efficiency is also being described as key in reducing aid dependency and create fiscal space for social spending in pursuit of the country’s sustainable development goals.

Capital Hill is also being called upon to implement what the IMF calls a prudent fiscal policy to safeguard medium-term fiscal and debt sustainability.

South Africa has fallen into recession for the first time in eight years after economic growth shrank by 0.7% between January and March.

The downturn, due to weak manufacturing and trade, follows a 0.3% fall in GDP in the final quarter last year.

It is the first time that economic has slowed for two consecutive quarters - the technical definition of a recession - since 2009.

The value of the rand fell by 1% on the currency markets.

Analysts had expected GDP to grow by 0.9% during the first quarter. However, Joe de Beer, deputy director general of Statistics South Africa, said: "We can now pronounce that the economy is in recession."

He added: "The major industries that contracted in the economy were the trade and manufacturing sectors."

Africa's third-largest economy is under pressure after President Jacob Zuma fired its respected finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, earlier this year.

It prompted two credit rating agencies, Standard and Poor's and Fitch, to downgrade South Africa's credit worthiness to junk.

This means it is more expensive for South Africa to borrow money, because it is seen as having a higher risk defaulting on its debts.

Last week, S&P and Fitch pointed to further concerns about the South African economy, including uncertainty over who will succeed President Zuma as leader of the ruling African National Congress.

A successor is expected to be chosen in December, but Mr Zuma can remain as head of state until an election in 2019.

Tenants living in Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC) houses will have to start digging deeper into their pockets as the Corporation has hiked up its rentals.

Public Relations Officer for the MHC Ernestina Yobe has attributed the hike to the Corporation’s graduation into a profit making entity.

The rental adjustments, in some instances up to a 100 percent, come at a time when a majority of the tenants are grappling with the high costs of living.

Currently there is also a shortage of MHC houses, as the Corporation has sold most of its units to private owners who are offering them on the market for double the MHC value.

The MHC houses have been the most affordable in the country, providing decent accommodation to medium and low income earners.

However with the hike in rentals, properties may become unaffordable.

Speaking to capital FM, Public Relations Officer for the MHC said that the rentals have been slightly adjusted effective the first day of July.

Yobe attributed the hike to the fact that the corporation is now operating as a commercial entity and needs resources to keep it afloat.

The adjustments are said to have been hiked differently based on house location, size and class.

Yobe went on further to say that this is not the first time MHC has hiked rentals but this time around it is higher than that of the previous years mainly due to the commercialisation of the corporation.

A Blantyre based tenant of one MHC house told this reporter that he’d been notified that he will be paying up to MK36,000 for a house that used to be MK18,000.

He mentioned that the amount was too much as the prices of various commodities on the market continues to rise on a daily basis.

MHC is recently embarked on a venture to construct houses so to meet the demand for housing which is on a rise in the country’s cities.

About 25,000 houses are expected to be built in Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu by the year 2018.

According to media reports, MHC last constructed a reasonable number of houses in the 1970’s when the areas of Nkolokosa, Soche, Area 18 and others were being developed.

With a population of over 17 million, the national housing demand is pegged at 21,000 units annually.

South Africa's credit rating has been cut to junk status by the ratings agency S&P Global.

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