Malawi President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has said the Government of Malawi is fully committed to the Global Accelerator Initiative in an effort to address the country’s labour, employment, and social protection challenges.
Speaking on Sunday at the Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection for Just Transitions on the sidelines of the 78th UNGA Summit currently underway in New York, US, President Chakwera lamented the high unemployment levels, particularly among the youth.
He disclosed that Malawi has a youthful population, 80 percent of which is under 35 years of age, and nearly 28 percent of the working-age individuals are not actively involved in meaningful economic activities.
“This picture result in an overall 21 percent unemployment rate,” he said, further lamenting that out of the labour force that is in employment, 89 percent is in the informal sector, and faces numerous challenges such as low wages, limited social protection, and skill gaps.
“Our reliance on seasonal agricultural work exacerbates the situation. Recent macroeconomic shocks, notably Tropical Cyclone Freddy in March 2023, have compounded our challenges. With over half of our population living below the poverty line, addressing these issues is crucial for our long-term stability and development. It is thus imperative that we seize available opportunities to expedite economic recovery and national progress,” said Chakwera.
The Malawi leader stated that it is against this background that the Government of Malawi fully commits to the Global Accelerator Initiative, and thus affirming our pathfinder status, with a comprehensive roadmap focusing on economic diversification, increased job opportunities, and enhanced social protection, in line with our MW2063 goals and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
President Chakwera said his government has prioritized the agricultural sector, which contributes the most to the country’s GDP, at 25 percent, and which employs 80 percent of our workforce.
He said through diversification, mechanization, and value addition, his government aims to boost productivity and generate decent work, without compromising the level of employment.
“We emphasize on private sector investment and innovation to drive these initiatives in agriculture. Our efforts at expanding Agri-TVET programmes will equip the youth with modern skills and entrepreneurial capabilities, thus covering the identified gaps,” he said.
He commended the Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Malawi, and the entire UN Country Team for its enthusiasm in assisting to commence the implementation of the Global Accelerator initiative.