World Bank gives US$110m for Malawi’s health, agriculture

World Bank has given Malawi Government US$110 Million (about MK30 billion for financing of the Agriculture Sector Wide Approach (ASWAP) investment program and Nutrition and HIV and AIDS national response program.

Speaking at the signing ceremony Tuesday in Lilongwe, Country Manager for World Bank, Sandra Bloemenkamp said US$30 million has been set aside for the ASWAP project for the improvement of roads in rural areas.

“This financing is there as an additional support to enable new interventions in the agricultural diversification, commercialization and the access to the markets,” Bloemenkamp said.

Sandra Bloemenkamp: World Bank rep in Malawi

Bloemenkamp further said the project will look beyond food security and will address some key constraints in the business environment to facilitate and attract more private investments in the agricultural sector.

Under World Bank financing, close to 450 kilo metres of roads will be improved in the areas of high agricultural potential like in the districts of Chikhwawa, Chitipa, Salima, Mwanza and Ntcheu.

The Nutrition, HIV and AIDS program has been given US$80 million for the betterment of   malnourished children and those living with the virus.

The US$80 million has been divided into two, US$50 million for the HIV and AIDS, while the remaining US$30 million is for the Maternal and young child nutrition.

Sandra said “Although Malawi is making progress in reducing Adult HIV prevalence, at 10.6 per cent; it still remains one of the highest in the world. This project will help the national response to HIV and AIDS, and the priority objective of reducing the number of new HIV infections,”

Preventing the new infections is the only way to get the upper hand on this epidemic and the only path to a Malawi free of AIDS.

The country Manager said there is need to reduce the stunting of children as it is an important investment in the children and the future of Malawi.

Grateful Malawi

Making his remarks, Minister of Finance, Dr Ken Lipenga commended World Bank for the good gesture.

He said the Malawi government is pleased to have signed the agreements with World Bank, he said through this financing the government will be able to improve the rural roads and bridges through spot gravelling and equipping farmers with road maintenance skills.

Lipenga also said Government is implementing a five year HIV/AIDS national response strategy which seeks to promote behavior change, prevention of HIV/AIDS infection, mitigation, treatment and care.

‘With the help, Government will be able to implement this program and help millions of Malawians access vital HIV/AIDS information,” said Lipenga.

He further highlighted that most of the children are stunted due to nutritional deficiencies in the food that they take every day.

“This project is therefore coming at a right time when government has established a dedicated department to facilitate nutrition planning and implementation, He said.

Important

The Minister said Government considers the project as being very important, since it will complete the Government efforts to introduce new programs in the HIV/AIDS national response like male circumstition among other things.

It will also help government scale up its outreach program to influence behavior changes; it will further introduce new testing centre’s as well as provide ART to more people who are currently not receiving the life prolonging drugs.

The Minister then urged the department having the responsibility of managing the two projects to be proactive and execute the projects efficiently for the benefit of the nation.

For the nutrition component, there is co-financing from Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). For the ASWAP project the Bank is collaborating with other development partners through a multi-Donor Trust Fund. These include the European Union and the Flanders International Cooperation Agency.

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