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Malawi translates vision to action using T21, and gains capacity for dynamic modeling

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As a part of the UNDP-World Bank sponsored African Futures project, the National Economic Council (NEC) of the Government of Malawi commissioned a national vision document, Malawi 2020 Vision that details the country’s aspirations for the year 2020.  While the document was extensive and comprehensive, it did not include a clear outline of strategies to attain the vision.

To move the document from one of aspirations to that of action, the UNDP Malawi country office in 1997, engaged MI to build capacity at the NEC to produce a Threshold 21 model for Malawi, with objectives to: link the model with the Vision 2020 report; facilitate stakeholder participation; and to produce a new national development strategy. 

MI conducted a two-week workshop for NEC staff, other government planners, members of the Vision team, and university academics.  Following this capacity building, MI worked with the NEC staff to customize T21 to Malawi and link it to the Vision 2020 report.

Over a four-day workshop, the Vision Team reviewed their report and identified the key points.  They also developed specific, measurable indicators of progress toward the Vision 2020 goals.  To complete the linkage, the NEC staff included the Vision 2020 indicators in the T21-Malawi model.  Thus, any scenario considered could be immediately evaluated in terms of its consequences for meeting the Vision 2020 goals.

As the work progressed, a number of multi-stakeholder briefings were held within and outside government.

After many scenarios were studied in detail, the NEC staff prepared a new National Development Strategy.  The document, Reaching the Vision, was presented to the Cabinet and was shared at a Consultative Group meeting in December 1998.

Since handing over responsibility for the model to Malawi, Malawi has continued to find good use for it.  In 1999, the government prepared a Policy Framework Paper (PFP) for the International Monetary Fund, based on T21 analysis. The PFP was approved.  T21 was also used to prepare Malawi’s poverty reduction strategy paper (PRSP) for the World Bank.

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