5 DEVELOPING ECONOMIC INFRASTRUCTURE
5.1 ASPIRATIONS FOR GOOD ECONOMIC INFRASTRUCTURE
Malawians aspire for a well-developed and maintained economic infrastructure. This includes: provision of roads, rail, water and air transport; supply of energy in all its forms; provision of water and sanitation services; communications; formulating a supporting physical planning framework; and creating an efficient construction industry.
5.2 STRATEGIC CHALLENGES AND OPTIONS
5.2.1 Improving Physical Planning
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The effectiveness of the existing physical planning is hampered by the lack of a coordinated national physical development plan, inadequate resources and institutional weaknesses.
The challenge in physical planning is to have development based on a comprehensive and co-ordinated physical development plan covering the whole country.
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The strategic options for achieving the above include:
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The problem in roads is that they are inadequate, poorly designed, poorly managed and poorly maintained as a result of the lack of a national policy on provision, maintenance, funding and management of roads.
The challenge is to reverse this situation.
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The following are the strategic options to the attainment of an effective road development and management system:
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The management of rail transport system in Malawi is inefficient. It also has limited and inoperative tracks and old wagons. Malawi needs to strive for a better rail system.
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In order to improve rail transport, the following options are available:
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Water transport is characterized by a limited number of operators; impassability of some major rivers; and lack of integrated transport system as other transport modes in many lakeshore areas are absent with two thirds of Malawi's length being aligned to the lake, the challenge is to achieve increased use of water transport.
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To increase the usage of water transport, the following options are available:
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Malawi's air transport sector has a limited and poorly maintained number of airports and operators. The limited inland air travel is further hampered by inadequate institutional arrangements and lack of supporting commercial activities.
The challenge is to develop the air transport sector so that it can support other sectors, notably the tourism and export sectors.
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The options for the attainment of the above include:
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The rural transport system on which the majority of our population depends suffers from inadequate infrastructure; insufficient transport services, poor access and weak institutional planning capacity.
The challenge is how to have an efficient rural transport system.
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The strategic options available for the development of an efficient rural transport system include:
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Currently, electricity is inadequate, unaffordable, unreliable and inaccessible due to monopolistic structures, under-developed services, siltation resulting from deforestation, poor management, lack of competition and cultural inertia.
The challenge is to develop this source of energy to supply electricity efficiently.
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The strategic options for the development of an efficient supply of electricity include:
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The major problems with the supply of petroleum products are: relatively high costs; insufficient reserves and dependency on imports.
The challenge is how to bring in petroleum products at cheaper prices with guaranteed supply.
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In order to achieve cheaper prices and guaranteed supply of petroleum products, the strategic options available include:
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Malawians depend on fuelwood for their energy requirements. This fuelwood is largely met from indigenous forests. Aggregate consumption exceeds the level of sustainable yields by 30 per cent.
The challenge is how to increase supply of fuelwood in the short term and reduce dependency on fuelwood in the long term. Other forms of energy such as coal, biogas, and solar are relatively under-developed. The challenge is therefore to develop these forms of energy in meeting the overall national energy demands.
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The strategic options for the attainment of the above challenge include:
Communications suffer from inefficiency; monopolistic operations; lack of investment and long- term planning; and inadequate access leading to poor services.
The challenge is to have an efficient communications sector.
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The strategic options required for the development of an efficient communications' sector include:
Currently water services are characterized by unreliable sources, limited access, inadequate institutional arrangements and investments.
The challenge is to increase access to potable water by all Malawians.
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In order to increase access to potable water by all Malawians, the strategic options available include:
The problems relating to sanitation services include lack of investment; inadequate institutional arrangements; and lack of policy in the sector.
The challenge is how to provide efficient sanitation services.
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The strategic options available include:
The major problems in the construction industry are poor participation by indigenous Malawians, inefficiency and high pricing.
The challenge is how to have an efficient industry with increased local participation.
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The strategic options for the development of an efficient construction industry with increased local participation include: