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Malawi Economic Development Through My Korean Experience (Mwiza Banda, 2020 MPP)

  • Date 2023-08-23 18:00
  • CategoryResearch and Education
  • Hit546

1st Winner

Category 1) Contributions to Korea

Subject A) Successful Cooperation with Korea

(Summary) The award of a master’s degree Global Ambassador Scholarship at KDI School of Public Policy and Management in 2020 is one of my life-changing experiences for my personal development and the quality of my contribution as a public official of the Malawi government to the nation’s economic development. Aside from the lecture room experience, field trip motivation, and social interactions among fellow students, the school also provided a platform to exercise my leadership skills through dormitory assistantship. This was educational as well as socially fulfilling for me to have contributed to the wellbeing of a diverse community at the school.

South Korea, as one of the developed economies, provides the best-case scenario for the developing countries; hence, Korea's cooperation with African countries through capacity-building programs is very important. In 2020, KDI School offered me the opportunity to study a Master of Public Policy under the Global Ambassador Scholarship. Under this program, I majored in the concentrations of finance, macroeconomic policy, and public finance; this was in line with my current work at the Malawi Revenue Authority. 

During my studies, I was privileged to learn from Korean economic development policies and those of other countries, and I shared some of Malawi’s economic policies for in-class peer reviews. Such discussions proved beneficial to the buildup of my research project, whose recommendations turned out to be important for the country. 

Apart from the classroom lecturers, assignments, and group discussions, field trips to some of Korea’s government departments also provided the best learning experience of first-hand economic development. The economic history of South Korea from the 1960s to the 2020s showcased during these educational visits is a perfect model for a developing country like Malawi that is struggling on its way from poverty to prosperity. 

The scholarship also provided a platform for me to exercise my leadership skills in student community management. Ranging from a class assistant position to dormitory assistant, I was able to assist KDI School in managing the welfare of students. The school lived by the value of embracing diversity, and a collection of students from different cultural backgrounds could easily result in some misunderstandings among the students. This called for the need for mature dispute resolution abilities to promote harmony among students. In my capacity as the dormitory assistant, I chaired dormitory floor meetings, and I am glad that I maintained a peaceful coexistence among students of various racial and cultural backgrounds and did not receive any cases of misunderstanding between dormitory occupants throughout my tenure. 

The KDI school experience is very vital to my work as a senior tax officer at the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA). The courses I pursued under the Master of Public Policy, such as impact evaluation methods, Quantitative methods, and Tax Policy and administration, enhanced my analytical skills, as evidenced by the increase in detection of material tax misstatements in the tax audit and inspection cases that I execute. 

In my supervised research project, I analysed the compliance of large taxpayers in Malawi after the introduction of Electronic Fiscal devices (EFDs) to boost compliance in value-added tax (VAT). Professors at KDI provided great insights to my research project, in which I used various sources of literature and analytical tools at the school’s disposal to analyse MRA’s data to come up with findings on how compliance with consumption taxes changed after the introduction of EFDs. The results of my research indicated that there was no significant decrease in the audit findings for consumption taxes after their introduction. The research further suggested that this would mean that there was low uptake of the EFDs, and I recommended the introduction of incentives that would encourage taxpayers to use EFDs. 

A) COVER PAGE OF SUPERVISED RESEARCH PROJECT

I shared my research recommendations with relevant authorities at MRA, and I was pleased to note that some of the recommendations that I proposed were used in the revenue enhancement policies of the authority. Subsequently, in March 2021, MRA introduced a promotion that aimed at increasing the use of EFDs by encouraging consumers to report any cases where they were not served with a fiscal receipt after purchasing goods, and in return, the authority would reward such consumers with a certain amount of money. 

B) EXTRACT OF RESEARCH RECOMMENDATIONS

In as much as KDI groomed me to effectively contribute to my country’s domestic revenue mobilization through EFDs, the school’s econometric courses that I enrolled in have also greatly improved my personal analytical skills. This is evident by the trust that MRA has bestowed on me, as I have lately been promoted to the position of team leader in the tax investigation department, a section that was lacking such skills. Furthermore, the authority has also entrusted me with the capacity-building exercise regarding the improvement of analytical skills among tax auditors across the country, which shows that my ability to analyse and interpret data in taxation is valued at the management level. 

C) DAILY PAPAERS EXTRACT

The school also provided a suitable space for the use of technological platforms. Since I enrolled at KDI school at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the institution’s prompt reaction to the pandemic was a very vivid example of how technology can be used to communicate in times where physical meetings are impossible. Currently, I use various online platforms to facilitate my workflow in situations where there are limited resources for in-person meetings. This has greatly improved the efficiency with which I attain my required work objectives. 

D) DORMITORY ASSISTANT APPRECIATION

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