The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says the multistakeholder conference it will jointly host with the Ministry of Finance and the Reserve Bank of Malawi in Lilongwe on Friday and

Saturday next week is a continuation of the national dialogue on the economy initiated by the Malawi government.

The IMF-Malawi Office says the conference, to be officially opened by President Joyce Banda, will provide an opportunity for reflection and strategising on critical policies and measures needed to achieve the objectives of the Economic Recovery Plan and the IMF’s Extended Credit Facility (ECF) supported programme.

“In particular, discussions will highlight what needs to be done to promote and achieve high economic growth that significantly lowers the incidence of poverty in the country,” said the IMF in a statement.

It says participants will be drawn from a wide range of stakeholders, including the government, RBM, members of parliament, the business community, the financial sector, academia, labour unions, civil society organisations, and development partners.

To be held under the theme: “Malawi –Towards More Inclusive Growth”, the conference will take place on November 2-3 at the President hotel complex in Lilongwe.

“Her Excellency the President [Joyce Banda] has consented to grace the occasion and make the opening remarks, with hon. Minister [Ken] Lipenga delivering the keynote address,” reads the IMF statement.

The conference will take place at the time an IMF Team will be in thecountry for the first review mission of the US$156 million ECF programme which was approved by the IMF executive board un July this year.

IMF Mission Chief for Malawi Tsidi Tsikata will lead the team which will arrive in the country on Tuesday next week.

Restoration of an IMF programme followed swift moves by the Joyce Banda administration to implement policies to tackle the poor state of the economy it inherited when it took office in April 2012.

In order to address a chronic problem of foreign exchange shortages and stem the slowdown in economic growth, the government devalued the kwacha, adopted a flexible exchange

rate regime and removed restrictions on current account transactions.

It also addressed internal imbalances by raising prices of petroleum products and adopting an automatic adjustment mechanism to ensure that prices reflect import costs and avoid burdening the budget with untargeted subsidies.

A conference entitled “National Dialogue on the Economy” in late-June sought to sharpen the government’s priorities within the broader set of Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS II) priorities from where an Economic Recovery Plan has been derived.

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