The World Bank Board of Executive Directors has approved a $100 million (about K74 billion) grant for the strengthening of local authorities’ institutional performance, responsiveness to citizens and management of resources for public service delivery.
The bank said in a statement, that decentralising the delivery of essential public services such as health and education is government policy and is known to improve their effectiveness and efficiency.
The bank says as decentralisation continues to deepen in Malawi, delivery will depend increasingly on local authorities as a tool for advancing sector aims through their systems.
World Bank Country Manager, Greg Toulmin said the project provides a systematic approach for the government of Malawi to incentivise improvements in governance for basic service delivery across multiple levels of government while also deepening the government’s social contract with citizens.
“The current Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of better governance for improved service delivery,” Toulmin said.
Among others, the project will introduce a Performance Based Grant for Malawi’s 28 rural Local Authorities which will provide these local governments the opportunity to increase their access to development resources for public investments based on the achievement of results.
This will be complemented by support to strengthen intergovernmental financing and accountability systems and targeted investments in capacity and skills.
The bank says the project places citizen engagement and civil society partnerships front and centre to promote trust and accountability.
World Bank Governance Practice Manager, Nicola Smithers, said the project is an innovative approach to address historically persistent governance constraints by establishing a clear link between improved governance performance and service delivery results.
“It will strengthen accountability relationships between citizens and local government to ensure that increased resources are transformed into quality priority local development projects,” Smithers said.