25 Years of Democracy: Governance and Sustainable Development in Malawi
Malawi has been consistently democratic since 1994, when it re-introduced a multiparty democratic system of governance after several decades of dictatorship. But what has been the democratic dividend in terms of economic development?
Dr. Mercy Tiyesere Chikapa presented a paper on the accountability and responsiveness of government and elected officials in Malawi. Photo: Dan Banik/UiO.
Together with the University of Malawi’s Chancellor College, the Oslo SDG Initiative organised a workshop in Blantyre, Malawi on 28 February, under the auspices of the NORHED project – Towards Strengthening Democratic and Economic Governance in Malawi.
Among the invitees were scholars, civil servants, civil society activists, media persons and current and former students enrolled in the University of Malawi/University of Oslo Masters Programme in Public Administration and Management (MPAM).
See workshop agenda here.
Policy space, accountability and implementation
The discussions focused on three broad sets of issues:
- The role of international organisations such as UN agencies, the World Bank and IMF and bilateral donors, and the amount of policy space enjoyed by the government
- Perceptions of a range of phenomenon – including corruption, witchcraft and the digital divide among citizens – and their potential impact on transparency and democratic accountability
- Implementation challenges in relation to specific programmes including school meals, environmental protection, community policing, access to digital information, and anti-corruption reform
"Democracy that delivers"
In an op-ed published following the workshop, Nikolai Hegertun, PhD candidate at the University of Oslo, argues that there is a widespread belief in Malawi that democracy equals development, which may end up undermining the support for democracy as development is perceived to lag behind.
Read the op-ed in Malawi's The Nation here.
A planned output will be a special issue of a reputable international journal with selected articles presented at the workshop.