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Germany mum on budget support

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The Federal Republic of Germany has not been clear on the possibility of resuming budgetary support to Malawi.

Last Thursday, the United Kingdom also said it had no plans to resume budgetary support to Malawi.

The European country has, however, stressed that support to Malawi will continue being through implementation of programmes that are aimed at uplifting people’s lives.

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“We want our support to go direct to the districts where people are in need. Some of the projects are on education, health and crop diversification. We have a comprehensive approach. The projects are in line with the interests of the people. Large numbers of people will benefit,” new German Ambassador to Malawi, Jurgen Borsch, said on Tuesday.

Germany’s general budgetary support to Malawi was frozen in 2011 due to concerns over governance. And in 2014, Germany moved out of a group of donors who were assisting Malawi through direct budget support, called Common Approach to Budgetary Support (Cabs). It took an observer status in the group.

When asked about the possibility of resuming budgetary support to the country, Borsch said he will comment at an appropriate time.

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“It is a process. We will cross the bridge when we reach there,” Borsch said.

Borsch was speaking in an interview in Lilongwe after the signing ceremony of a financial assistance agreement between his government and Malawi amounting to €45 million (about K36 billion).

Borsch said the K36 billion support will help in improving the relations between the two countries in the areas of basic education, primary health services, social protection of the ultra-poor and private sector development in the rural areas.

“In addition, I’m very happy that we are able to step up our support to the people of Malawi in the form of the current crisis due to El Nino with another €4 million to improve food and nutrition security and strengthening resilience,” Borsch said.

Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Goodall Gondwe, said the support will help in assisting the poor.

“On social cash transfer, direct payment of cash to the ultra-poor is important. It brings money to them. It is used to buy food, send children [to school] and purchase farm inputs. Social cash transfer has become very important,” Gondwe said.

Apart from the K36 billion support, Gondwe also signed another agreement with KfW, a German government-owned development bank, for €10 million support towards primary health.

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