By Taonga Sabola:
The World Bank on Tuesday gave Malawi a $40 million package to help the country in disaster risk management in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai.
The package is part of the $70 million financing agreement that Capital Hill signed with the Bretton Woods institution on June 21 this year.
World Bank Country Manager, Greg Toulmin, said the funding was a short-term immediate response to Idai that is coming in various forms in a tranche of $120 million.
“Out of that, $40 million has been allocated to supporting this operation, which is working to improve the management and preparation disasters in future,” Toulmin said.
He could, however, not come out clearly on whether the bank would this year release the much-awaited $60 billion budget support package which Capital Hill has been waiting for over the past two years.
Failure by World Bank to release the funds has thrown the past two budgets off balance, forcing the government to scale up borrowing and introduce budget cuts.
“The way we work is that the money that is available for countries that benefit from International Development Assistance (IDA) like Malawi is allocated on a three-year basis from July 2017 to June 2020. Malawi has been allocated $750 million. So, the key question is: Will Malawi get the $750 million?
“I am confident they will and, in addition, Malawi will get an additional $120 million which was allocated in response to Cyclone Idai. So, Malawi should be getting around $870 million in a variety of forms. Some of it is in projects, some in budgetary support while some of it may be focused on supporting results. But, overall, we are confident of delivering, in one way or the other, all the resources Malawi is entitled to under IDA,” Toulmin said.
Finance Minister, Joseph Mwanamvekha, hailed World Bank for the support.
He said the objective of the financing was to strengthen government’s institutional capacity to manage disaster and climate risks.
“This is achieved through policy and institutional reforms aimed at strengthening the government’s coordination mechanisms, shock-sensitive social protection mechanisms, financial capacity to respond to disasters as well as safeguarding public infrastructure.
“These are essential prerequisites to breaking the cycle of vulnerabilities and poverty in Malawi,” Mwanamvekha said.