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World Bank approves K127 billion against weather shocks

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The World Bank has approved $174 million (K127 billion) to help millions of Malawians facing food shortage and other drought induced challenges recover and build resilience against future weather related shocks.

Officially, there are 6.5 million people facing hunger in the country and other unconfirmed reports say the number has risen to eight million.

According to the World Bank statement issued yesterday, the financing has been provided through two projects –the Malawi Drought Recovery and Resilience Project (MDRRP) with a grant of $104 million, and the Strengthening Safety Nets Systems Project (SSNSP) – Malawi Social Action Fund (Masaf) IV with a grant of $47.68 million and a credit of $22.32 million.

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Under the MDRRP, the funds will be used to meet urgent food security needs of over 1.6 million people by procuring maize locally and internationally at a cost of $50 million.

The bank says local purchase will be carried out by the National Food Reserve Agency, while the international procurement will be done by the World Food Programme. The grant will also be used to scale-up the Input for Assets programme (IFA) currently being implemented by the Malawi Floods Emergency Recovery Project, also supported by the World Bank.

“With Malawi’s economy and livelihoods highly dependent on agriculture, the current crisis creates opportunities to undertake reforms and resilience measures that will enable the country to emerge stronger. We are committed to help the country in this regard,” said Richard Record, Acting Country Manager for the World Bank in Malawi.

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The statement says through the assets programme, about 200,000 beneficiaries will receive improved seeds and fertiliser packages in return for working on community assets such as rural feeder roads, catchment management and repairs to irrigation infrastructure.

The MDRRP will also help increase agriculture productivity and resilience through promoting drought resistant crops such as sorghum and millet. It will also further enhance drought resilience and preparedness by rehabilitating critical water supply infrastructure, constructing water harvesting infrastructure, and drought contingency planning for all the five water boards.

The statement says Masaf IV additional financing will scale up a number of productive safety nets to help increase impact on household level incomes and food security and reduce households’ exposure to risks associated with climate change and other disasters.

“Given the scale of the drought and the unprecedented recovery needs in Malawi, the World Bank is taking the lead in the multi-partner crisis response, providing the country with emergency resources totalling $223.25 million from the International Development Association, the World Bank’s fund for the poorest,” Record said.

Finance Minister, Goodall Gondwe, welcomed the assistance from the bank saying it will save lives of about a third of the population of the country.

“Our drought recovery needs are immense estimated at $500 million dollars. The swift response from the World Bank is, therefore, greatly appreciated as it will help save lives and restore livelihoods of about a third of our population affected by drought,” Gondwe said.

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