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World Bank approves new Malawi programme

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The World Bank Group Board of Executive Directors meeting in Washington DC, United States, on Tuesday approved a new Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for Malawi.

It seeks to support the creation of more jobs, strengthen human capital, and support foundations for economic growth and accountability.

A CPF is a joint strategy of the three members of the World Bank Group; the International Development Association (IDA) also known as the World Bank; the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which is focused on the private sector in developing countries; and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency and International Development Association, which provides political risk insurance to private sector investors and lenders.

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The new CPF would guide the World Bank Group’s work over the next five years in support of Malawi’s national priorities as set out in Malawi Vision 2063.

The new CPF has three strategic focus areas which are bolstering foundations for growth and accountability, promoting private sector-led jobs and livelihoods and strengthening human capital development.

The bank said in a statement Wednesday that the CPF is informed by extensive consultations with a broad range of stakeholders in Malawi including government, civil society, and development partners.

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World Bank Country Director for Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, Mara Warwick, said the new framework would consolidate World Bank Group investments where they could make an impact, particularly in opening new opportunities for commercial agriculture and in ensuring women are empowered to participate fully in the economy.

“This is a pivotal moment for Malawi and the World Bank Group is renewing its support for the country.

“We welcome the renewed focus on tackling governance challenges. Strengthening of accountability and transparency is a foundation for growth,” Warwick said.

The new CPF comes at a time livelihoods are impacted by the Covid pandemic.

The CPF would, among other things, seek to support Malawi’s Covid health response and enable affordable and equitable access to vaccines in the immediate term and to support health systems strengthening over the medium term.

IFC Regional Director for Eastern Africa Jumoke Jagun-Dokunmu said, as part of the World Bank Group, his institution works closely with the Government of Malawi to support Malawi Vision 2063.

“Our advisory and investment services will focus on developing renewable energy and ICT infrastructure, increasing agricultural productivity, and supporting crop diversification, and boosting inclusive finance. This will be crucial to mitigate the economic impacts of the Covid pandemic and to support Malawi’s long-term growth,” Jagun- Dokunmu said.

Finance Minister Felix Mlusu said the coming of Covid has slowed the local economy, adding that Malawi desperately needs investments that could stimulate economic recovery.

“This requires a solid foundation – and we are very optimistic that, over the next five years, the World Bank Group will help us strengthen those foundations by supporting our reform agenda and investing in key sources of growth,” Mlusu said.

The World Bank’s IDA portfolio for Malawi includes 18 national projects and five regional investments with a net commitment value of $2.05 billion.

Project objectives range from strengthening access to energy and finance, supporting the commercialisation of agriculture as well as supporting Malawi’s Social Cash Transfer Programme.

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