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AfBD approves new strategy for Malawi

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By Taonga Sabola:

African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved its Country Strategy Paper for Malawi which will guide its engagement with Capital Hill between 2018 and 2022.

In a statement the bank could, however, not indicate the amount of financial resources it intends to pour into Malawi in the next five years.

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As at October 2018, AfDB’s active portfolio in Malawi covered 15 operations totalling slightly over $308 million.

Designed to reduce fragility and address issues of economic, social and climate resilience, the new Country Strategy Paper gives greater attention to the specific challenges Malawi is facing as a small landlocked country, with a growing population that doubles every 22 years.

The bank’s plans will also support key water basins such as Songwe River and Lake Malawi.

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The Abidjan headquartered institution said the new Country Strategy operationalises the bank’s High 5 priorities championed by its President Akinwumi Adesina.

AfDB says the strategy blueprint is part of ongoing efforts to boost economic diversification, reduce dependency on rain-fed agriculture and build resilience for growth in the southern African nation.

The Country Strategy Paper will guide AfDB’s operations in Malawi with regards to its financial, technical and knowledge assistance to the country.

It also seeks to ameliorate Malawi’s low levels of industrialisation, infrastructure gaps in energy, lack of diversification, limited sources of export revenue and low financial intermediation.

“The new five-year plan builds on the bank’s previous Malawi Country Strategy Paper 2013 – 2017 and will advance corporate strategies and the country’s most pressing development needs detailed in Malawi’s Growth and Development Strategy III,” reads part of the bank’s statement.

The strategic blueprint is articulated around two main strategic pillars focused on further development of the country’s energy, transport, agriculture and water sectors.

“The first pillar proposes investments in infrastructure development while the second seeks to advance investments in economic transformation projects and programmes.

“Through these pillars, the bank will aim to strengthen the foundations for private sector development by unlocking private and public investment, promote diversification, build economic resilience to reduce poverty and address rising income inequalities across gender,” AfDB says.

Subdued agricultural output and increased maize import caused by two consecutive years of drought were responsible for the 2016 slump in economic growth to 2.7 percent. Malawi’s economic growth, however, rebounded to 5.1 percent in 2017 owing to a recovery in agricultural production.

AfDB says its interventions will thus build on ongoing positive developments in the domestic environment, driving economic transformation and industries to support diversification and (decent and formal) job creation.

“The Malawi Country Strategy Paper 2018-2022 aligns with the bank’s Human Capital, Agricultural Transformation in Africa, Industrialisation for Africa and Jobs for Youth in Africa strategies,” reads the statement in part.

Finance Minister, Goodall Gondwe, could not be reached for comment on the development yesterday.

According to AfDB, the Country Strategy Paper was developed through consultations with the government, the private sector, civil society and other development partners.

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