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In an effort to sensitise media practitioners in Malawi on the implications of public and publicly guaranteed debt on human rights, poverty, inequality and macroeconomic performance, AFRODAD and OXFAM- Malawi hosted a media’s capacity building workshop. It was held on 27-28 June in Lilongwe, Malawi under the theme, “Partnering with Media in Debt Management for Sustainable and Inclusive Development in Africa.” In attendance were 40 journalists from different media houses from Malawi. Last year, AFRODAD held training on illicit financial flows and public-private partnerships and this year’s training aimed at giving trainees a comprehensive or complementary understanding of Malawi’s economic situation and their role towards its betterment. In addition, training was held in Zimbabwe and one is scheduled to take place in Zambia during this quarter.

The overall aim of the workshop was to capacitate journalists to become champions in reporting on debt management and related issues. Objectives of the initiative included engaging and increasing media participation in the campaign for sustainable debt management in Malawi; building media professionals’ knowledge and understanding of Debt Management; creating a network of journalists who can adequately report on Debt Management and related issues while promoting the exchange of innovative and effective techniques for monitoring and reporting debt management and related issues in Malawi. Training modules focused on the Role of Media in Debt and Public Finance Management: Challenges and Opportunities; Public Debt Management for Sustainable Development; nexus between Debt, Poverty and Inequality; and Accessing Debt Information and Debt Transparency.

Journalists (media), as government’s fourth arm, are tasked with the responsibility to distance themselves from power in order to monitor it and challenge it accordingly. Participants were greatly empowered as you will see in linked videos at the bottom. Why Malawi? In the medium to long term, Malawi’s external debt is sustainable and is classified as a moderate risk of debt distress. Moreover, Malawi’s debt indicators do not breach the international thresholds. However, Malawi’s debt is vulnerable to shocks related to exports emanating from weather shocks and changes in commodity prices.

If you look at public debt sustainability which assesses both external and domestic debt, Malawi’s public debt to GDP is at 42.7 percent compared to the recommended benchmark of 38 percent. Adding domestic debt to external debt is heightening Malawi’s risk of debt distress.

 

Threshold

2018

2019

2020

2021

2022

PV of Debt to GDP

30

20.4

20.3

20.1

19.8

19.5

PV of Debt to Exports

100

74.2

72.2

71.3

70.0

69.0

PV of Debt to Revenue

200

102.7

104.5

103.7

101.6

99.4

Debt Service to Exports

15

7.5

5.4

5.3

5.2

4.0

Debt Service to Revenue

18

10.4

7.8

7.6

7.5

6.6

Public Debt Indicator

PV of Debt to GDP

38

42.7

42.5

40.5

38.3

36.1

*PV: Present Value

Please watch our videos on our Youtube channel for further insight.