The World Bank and Malawi government on Wednesday signed a financing agreement of US$125,000,000 (K3.5billion) for improvement of three development programme areas in the country.
The three programmes include Shire Basin Management Project (SRBMP), Irrigation, Rural Livelihood and Agriculture Development (IRLAD) with the second additional funding and the Malawi Social Action Fund also with the second financial assistance for the Local Development Fund (LDF) projects.
A statement says the approved project by the Bank’s Board of Executive Directors will cover the first phase of the Shire river basin management programme (SRBMP) and that with the growing and competing demand on shire waters, the project would also support Malawi in its long-term vision for better management of resources for shire basin.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, Country Manager for World Bank, Sandra Bloemenkamp said the financial assistance was set aside for the SRBMP project in order to improve Malawi’s long-term vision to better manage resources of the Shire basin.
“This financing is there as an additional support to new interventions in the agricultural diversification and flood risk management infrastructure,” Bloemenkamp said.
Bloemenkamp further said the project will look beyond collaborating with the global environment facility and least developed countries which are contributing $ 6.58million (K1.5billion) of the 125million provided by the bank and 75per cent is a credit while 25 per cent is a grant which will attract more private investments in the agricultural sector.
In his remarks Minister of Finance, Dr Ken Lipenga thanked the World Bank for the good gesture.
He said the Malawi government is pleased to have signed the agreements with the World Bank, saying through this financial agreement government will be able to increase sustainable socio-economic and environmental benefits by effective and collaboration in planning for the management of shire river basin natural resources.
Lipenga also said the Shire River Basin programme is a multi-sector project and will be implemented in a period of 15 years by the Ministry of agriculture aimed at strengthening the institutional capacities and mechanism for shire river basin monitoring, planning, management and decision support system.