EU denies withdrawing transport aid for Malawi: ‘Ongoing up to 2016’

The European Union (EU) has said it considers phasing out support to the transport sector in African countries but explained that it was inaccurate to suggest that it had been withdrawn to aid-dependent Malawi.

The Daily Times under the headline ‘EU withdraws transport’ aid reported on Wednesday that EU has stopped “pumping support to the transport sector.”

However, Alexander Baum, the head of the EU mission in Malawi clarified the report.

He said it was inaccurate to say that aid had been stopped.

EU Ambassador Baum

EU Ambassador Baum: New development policy of EU ‘ Agenda for change’

“The EU has not decided to withdraw transport aid to Malawi, but there is a proposal for phasing out over the coming years till 2020 that is yet to be decided. Ongoing programmes go up to 2015/16,” the EU diplomat told Nyasa Times on Wednesday through an email.

Baum explained: “The EU’s scepticism of continuing engagement in the transport sector is not specific to Malawi but applies to all countries, transport is not a priority sector in the new development policy of the EU ‘Agenda for Change’. Other sectors are preferred.”

The EU diplomat said “Malawi has the potential to be self-sustainable until 2020 in the operations of the sector in our view, this could be something good I believe.”

He assured that “total aid flow is not affected even if we are phasing out.”

Malawi’s Transport and Public Works Minister Sidik Mia has since asked EU to consider “a gradual pulling away” from the transport sector and also appealed to other donors “to consider increasing their support to the sector.”

Malawi is grappling with news of aid withdraw following a widespread multi-million dollar treasury fraud dubbed the ‘cash-gate’ scam.

Mia noted that   the country’s transport sector and the economy as a whole has entered into a difficult period with the freezing of budget support by development partners.

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