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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.


5.2.1 Improving Physical Planning Strategic Challenge
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. Strategic Options
The strategic options for achieving the above include:

  1. reviewing of-the current physical development plan to make it comprehensive to the Year 2020;
  2. complementing investments in infrastructure between rural and urban areas based on the country's new priorities and
  3. extending development control to all urban areas.
5.2.2 Roads Development Strategic Challenge
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. Strategic Options
The following are the strategic options to the attainment of an effective road development and management system:

  1. strengthening the national road authority to include among its functions those of provision of new road, funding of their construction and management; and
  2. strengthening road safety measures and instituting proper pricing and design standards.
5.2.3 Rail Transport Development Strategic Challenge
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. Strategic Options
In order to improve rail transport, the following options are available:

  1. continuing with the restructuring of railways transport system to make it more efficient and commercially viable;
  2. updating and adopting of technology to improve quality and safety of rail services as well as environmental protection; and
  3. improving management systems through better information database and training of personnel.
5.2.4 Water Transport Development Strategic Challenge
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. Strategic Options
To increase the usage of water transport, the following options are available:

  1. allowing more private operators and giving them freedom to set their own economic parameters with government providing regulatory functions with respect to safety environment;
  2. implementing a better maintenance regime;
  3. rationalization of customs, cargo handling and administration procedures to achieve greater efficiency;
  4. investing in the development of marine human resource;
  5. dredging major rivers to make them passable;
  6. promoting joint-ventures in cargo shipping services; and
  7. ratifying useful International Maritime Conventions.
5.2.5 Increasing Use of Air Transport Strategic Challenge
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. Strategic Options
The options for the attainment of the above include:

  1. building new airports and helipads especially near national parks and tourist attractions to encourage the development of tourism;
  2. encouraging privatization of some aviation-related services of Air Malawi;
  3. modernizing and maintaining old airports to improve both safety and quality and cater for new environmental concerns; and
  4. reviewing existing legislation to allow for reforms in the sector.
5.2.6 Improving Rural Transport Strategic Challenge
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. Strategic Options
The strategic options available for the development of an efficient rural transport system include:

  1. increasing investments in transport infrastructure and equipment;
  2. integrating planning approaches; and
  3. encouraging private sector and community participation.
5.2.7 Promoting Efficient Electricity Supply and Distribution Strategic Challenge
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. Strategic Options
The strategic options for the development of an efficient supply of electricity include:

  1. taking preventive measures to avoid shortage of water by better conservation of catchment areas;
  2. interconnecting with supply from neighbouring countries;
  3. liberalizing the industry,
  4. privatizing some functions of ESCOM;
  5. encouraging widespread adoption of electricity by using low cost electrical reticulation and wiring design;
  6. adopting a demand-side load management by using pre-paid meters; and
  7. engaging in civic education in the use of this form of energy.
5.2.8 Improving Supply of Petroleum Products Strategic Challenge
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. Strategic Options
In order to achieve cheaper prices and guaranteed supply of petroleum products, the strategic options available include:

  1. improving greater efficiency in procurement, transportation and storage costs;
  2. investing in exploration; building of oil pipeline and increasing storage facilities.
5.2.9 Reducing Dependence on Fuelwood Strategic Challenge
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. Strategic Options
The strategic options for the attainment of the above challenge include:

  1. developing commercial forests and encouraging the use of other forms of energy
  2. investing in exploitation and technologies of other forms of energy; and
  3. encouraging public awareness campaigns for increased use of these forms of energy.
5.2.10 Improving Communications Strategic Challenge
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. Strategic Options
The strategic options required for the development of an efficient communications' sector include:

  1. the de-linking of postal services from telecommunications;
  2. deregulating the industry; and
  3. reviewing legislation governing operations of telecommunications, broadcasting and radio communication.
5.2.11 Increasing Access to Water Strategic Challenge
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. Strategic Options
In order to increase access to potable water by all Malawians, the strategic options available include:

  1. reviewing and strengthening institutional arrangements;
  2. implementing and reviewing the newly enacted legislation;
  3. increasing investment in water supply infrastructure
  4. protecting catchment areas; and
  5. encouraging harvesting of rainwater.
5.2.12 Improving Sanitation Services Strategic Challenge
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. Strategic Options
The strategic options available include:

  1. increasing investment in the construction of appropriate facilities and research;
  2. reducing waste generation;
  3. reviewing legislation governing disposal of waste including industrial hazardous waste;
  4. developing standard designs for sanitation disposal v) systems to be used by developers.
5.2.13 Improving the Construction Industry Strategic Challenge
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. Strategic Options
The strategic options for the development of an efficient construction industry with increased local participation include:

  1. formulating a construction policy;
  2. providing indigenous people access to capital, informing and technology; and
  3. developing local building materials.
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