The Reserve Bank of Malawi, being a watcher where money is concerned, puts out a quarterly review of economics per Year. Its latest economic review of 2018 was in September. Biznews shares the reviews’ contents in summary, focusing fundamental services that are used daily. .N.B. since 2018 has not officially wrapped up, the following is basically a forecast; due to other factors, the predicted rates could be lower or higher by the end of 2018.
(a) Accommodation and Food Services
Hospitality sector is expected to grow by 4.6 percent in 2018 higher than 4.2 percent registered in 2017. The report states that the 2018 Population Census and the 2019 Elections will boost demand for accommodation and thus food services. It is projected that the sector will grow by 4.9 percent in 2019.
(b) Information and Communication
This sector is estimated to expand by 5.5 percent in 2018 and 6.1 percent in 2019, following growth of 6.4 percent registered in 2017. Growth is expected to be driven by the 2019 elections as there will be more advertisements and more communication during that time.
(c) Electricity, Gas and Water
The report says the above is likely to expand by 5.2 percent in 2018 and 5.5 percent in 2019 from a growth of 2.7 percent registered in 2017. The estimated high growth in 2018 is attributed largely to a number of initiatives by the Water Boards to increase water supply. For instance, Lilongwe Water Board is re-constructing Kamuzu Dam 1 water reservoirs and water treatment lakes.
The report also noted that the Northern Region Water Board is also in the process of constructing water reservoirs in Nkhatabay. Further, there are efforts by government to improve power generation in the country through various projects such as the Malawi-Mozambique interconnection project, the Malawi-Zambia interconnection project, the 70MW grid solar photovoltaic project to supplement the hydro-electric power produced by EGENCO, and the resumption of full generation of electricity at Nkula A power station.
(d) Wholesale and Retail Trade
The wholesale and retail trade sector in 2018 is estimated to grow by 5.5 percent as compared to 5.3 percent registered in the preceding year. The high growth estimate is attributed to the stable exchange rate and the anticipated increase in credit to the sector due to reduction in lending rates.(The RBM website shows a chart of food and non food inflation rates, which have risen since October, hence the forecast may be slightly off, due to the overall inflation rate)
(e) Transportation and Storage Services
The sector is estimated to register growth of 5.5 percent in 2018 as compared to 6.0 percent registered in 2017. Growth for the sector is attributed to increased rail transport by VALE Logistics which increased its tonnage movement in 2017 and is expected to lift a considerably high tonnage in 2018. In addition, preparation for the 2019 elections calls for increased travel across the country during the campaign period. As a result the forecast is a growth of 4.4.%.