The iconic Independence Arch, which stands imposingly on the Chipembere Highway in Blantyre, is a monumental reminder of the day the nation attained independence from British colonialism in 1964. That piece of infrastructure carries our incorruptible memory of the struggle that led to our political emancipation. The arch and the memories which it signifies will endure the test of time forever. Such is the remarkable nature of infrastructure; it endures the test of time and speaks volumes of a nation’s collective aspirations, determination and goodwill to bequeath its treasure to the generations to come.
We, at National Construction Industry Council (NCIC), are proud to be associated with the built environment through our mission to create a vibrant and efficient construction industry to catalyse development of our country. At NCIC, we are committed to contributing to the enjoyment of the hard won freedom through our vision to attain a dynamic construction industry that sustainably supports national economic development through planning and construction of quality and socially friendly infrastructure products.
The construction industry contributes significantly, in terms of scale and share, in the development process for both developed and developing countries. Construction products provide the necessary public infrastructure and private physical structures for many productive activities such as: roads & bridges, school blocks & staff houses, health centres, irrigation facilities, residential houses, office complexes & shopping malls, stadiums, hotels & holiday resorts, hydroelectric generating facilities and et cetera.
The industry is not only important for its finished products, but because it also employs a large number of people (directly and indirectly) and therefore has an effect on the economy of a country/region during and after the actual construction process.
The Public Service Reform Commission recommended re-launch of the Vision 2020 which has hitherto been implemented using short term strategies including MDGS I & II. MDGS II had Infrastructure development as one key area for poverty reduction. The subsequent 2012-2013 Economic Recovery Plan also identified Infrastructure Development as one critical sector among the five identified to move forward the ERP.
The newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), (adopted in September, 2015) also recognize the important role that infrastructure development plays in achieving sustainable economic development globally. In fact SDGs 9 & 11 clearly highlight the issue of infrastructure development: Goal #9 talks about ‘Building resilient infrastructure, promoting sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation’, cognizant that sustained investment in infrastructure and innovation are crucial drivers of economic growth and development. Goal #11 talks about ‘Making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’, cognizant that sustainable development cannot be achieved without significantly transforming the way we build and manage our urban spaces with given the rapid urbanization that we are experiencing world over.
Economic commentators single out infrastructure as one critical pillar for achieving global competitiveness. Extensive and efficient infrastructure is critical for ensuring the effective functioning of the economy, as it is an important factor in determining the location of economic activity and the kinds of activities or sectors that can develop within a country. Well-developed infrastructure reduces the effect of distance between regions, integrating the national market and connecting it at low cost to markets in other countries and regions. In addition, the quality and extensiveness of infrastructure networks significantly impact economic growth and reduce income inequalities and poverty in a variety of ways.
A well-developed transport and communications infrastructure network is a prerequisite for the access of less-developed communities to core economic activities and services. Effective modes of transport—including quality roads, railroads, ports, and air transport—enable entrepreneurs to get their goods and services to markets in a secure and timely manner and facilitate the movement of workers to the most suitable jobs.
Such is the huge role of infrastructure development on the social-economic frontline of a nation’s development agenda. Infrastructure/construction translates national budgets and our collective aspirations into tangible development outcomes. Infrastructure is a symbol of freedom.
The National Construction Industry Council, therefore, would like to join the State President His Excellency Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika and the people of our beloved country on this auspicious occasion when we celebrate our national Independence.
Happy Independence Day.