President Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika has said Malawi shares the commitment and vision of the World Bank in promoting early child development (ECD) initiatives towards a more productive and competitive nation.
The President said this on Thursday at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe when he had an audience with the visiting World Bank Vice President for Human Development Keith Hansen.
President Mutharika said although the country is coming from a situation where it has had to contend with an adverse financial environment, indicators still show progress made in promoting ECD, which has seen its budget increasing 10 times in the last few years.
“The country is smarting from a situation where we had to deal with climate induced shocks that affected our economy as reflected by the drop in our gross domestic product. But this has not stopped us from investing in areas like ECD, which we regard as vital for future developments of this country,” Mutharika said.
The president thanked Hansen for his visit saying it is a clear demonstration of World Bank’s support to Malawi which has followed the release of USD80 Million of direct budget support to the country.
“We have done our best in trying to restore confidence in our various partners. We have managed to reduce the inflation rate from 24.5 percent to 12.3 percent and the micro economic indicators show that we are on the right track,” he said.
In his remarks, Hansen said he is impressed with Malawi’s laid solid foundations in ECD which serve as stepping blocks to achieve development.
“Malawi needs to build on these strong foundations and there are various opportunities that Malawi can achieve on ECD,” Hansen said.
He added that there is a direct link in investing in ECD which forms a foundation for capital development needed for economic growth.
“Human capital is always a problem for various governments to achieve development. Investing in early and formative stages of children is cost effective as this determines how productive one turns out to be to the nation,” Hansen said.
World Bank plans to support Malawi in ECD with a focus on the health, education and social protection components during the first 1000 days of a child.
Early childhood nutrition and early stimulation and learning programmes have shown to extend school completion, improve learning outcomes and increase adult wages.
Speaking in interview after the audience, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Dr. Goodall Gondwe said the visit of the World Bank vice president has offered an opportunity for Malawi to lobby for more funding and support towards ECD.
“We have done our best but clearly it is not enough. His coming has motivated us to maintain ECD within our line of priorities,” said Gondwe.
Recently, the World Bank increased monetary support that Malawi can access to support its various developmental programmes from USD450 billion to USD715 billion.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :