Like any other institution that is knowledge-based, the Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU) greatly appreciates the role of ideas and interests towards shaping the direction of public policy, particularly in developing countries and fragile democracies such as Malawi, where issues of human rights and good governance are very critical. For ideas and interests to influence the direction of public policy, they must stand on a factual basis. This then justifies the need to conduct research to support ideas and interests. It must be spelt out clearly that our ideas and interests are inclined towards a people-driven development agenda, as espoused in the book, Alternatives to Neoliberalism in Southern Africa (ANSA).
One of the aims and objectives of the MCTU is to influence the direction of national policies towards serving the interests and aspirations of the masses and the working class in particular. As such, research continues to be key in our pursuits in this regard. The MCTU therefore has a commitment towards research as an integral part of our day-to-day struggle towards serving the interests of the working class in this country and the public at large.
This book makes a compelling case for a pro-poor and inclusive development. The analysis is informed by the fact that most African economies are characterized by the existence of two radically different parts; a modern or formal segment employing a small proportion of the labour force, and a traditional or non-formal segment employing the bulk of the labour force. This feature is a product of colonial capitalism that captured a small segment of the economy, the formal sector, leaving the bulk of the economy (non-formal segment) under pre-capitalist modes of production. It also reflects the failure of post-independence policies to deal with this structural deformity. As such, this disarticulate structure of the economy implies that the formal sector has a growth momentum of its own, and relates to the non-formal segment in a manner that marginalizes and impoverishes the latter, resulting in uneven development – indeed an enclave economy. This structural distortion implies that even in the presence of growth, the economy is unable to absorb the vast numbers of the unemployed and underemployed into the mainstream economy.
The book argues that the post-independence policies have failed to address the inherited enclave structure of the economy, resulting in the continued marginalization of the majority of the population, and the entrenchment of poverty. The solution should therefore be steeped in the adoption of people-driven policies that redress this enclave and dual structure to achieve inclusive growth and human development.
It is now agreed that for development policies to be sustainable, they should be formulated with broad-based stakeholder participation to engender national ownership. This book therefore represents our desire for such an inclusive, participatory approach.
Pontius Kalichero, Secretary General
Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU), 2012