Malawi invites Ireland to be part of CABS

Malawi government has invited Irish government to be part of the Common Approach to Budget Support (CABS), a panel of development partners that provide budget support to Malawi.

The group of donors includes UK, Norway, the African Development Bank, and the European Commission.

Finance Minister Ken Lipenga made the appeal to visiting Ireland deputy Minister of State for Oversees Development and Trade, Joe Costello.

Lipenga said it would be ideal for Ireland to be part of CABS “other than being an observer.”

CABS suspended support to Malawi, urging the Bingu wa Mutharika administration to address economic and governance concerns raised by various stakeholders.

Costello visiting communities benefiting from Irish aid support in Dedza

The CABS has been providing harmonised general budget support to Malawi since 1999. It conducts biannual reviews to discuss Malawi government’s economic development and growth, financial, and governance policies and strategies and assess progress of the government’s policy reform agenda.

The general budget support which is provided in foreign exchange, provides significant balance of payments support to the country’s economy.

Meanwhile, Irish government has committed 6 million Euros (about 1.4 billion Kwacha) to be released in the next two months to help improved the agriculture industry.

This was announced by Costello said after visiting communities benefiting from Irish aid support in Dedza through Concern Universal that the fight against hunger is a cornerstone of Ireland’s overseas aid programme.

“We are proving 6 million Euros in the first half of this year, 2012 for a range of programs and we are quite happy to do that, providing funding, providing support  for sustainable programs particularly in the agricultural area and we will be announcing a further substantial contribution in the second half of the year,” he said.

The Irish junior minister said the aid will be directed to different activities such as support to Concern Universal’s local development programs with 1.2million Euros.

UNICEF will be given 1 million Euros for fortification of sugar with Vitamin A.

Other organisations ICRISAT, ICRAF and NASFAM will be given €600,000, €500,000, and €250,000 respectively to implement seed industry development, agro forestry and conservative agriculture respectively.

About MK336million) will go towards the Farm Input Subsidy Program for 2012/2013.

Ireland has been helping Malawi to tackle hunger.  Last year they gave a c ash boost of K473 million  to support a national programme to improve small farmers’ access to seeds, fertilisers and pesticides to increase agricultural productivity, in addition to funding agricultural research to enhance crop yields and support adaptation to climate change.

Malawi is one of nine priority countries with whom Irish Aid has a long-term development partnership.

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