Bank releases $253m for water, power, finance projects in Malawi

 

 

The projects to be financed include the ongoing second phase of the National Water Development Programme, which is aimed at addressing the growing demand for access to sustainable water services and improving water resources management to facilitate growth in water-dependent sectors like agriculture.

Number of Projects

Malawi applied for an additional $120-million for the programme, which will be accessed by different water boards that are currently implementing a number of projects as part of the programme.

Part of the World Bank funding will also go to the Malawi Energy Sector Support Project, which is aimed at improving the reliability and capacity of the electricity grid to deliver power to customers and prepare for new investments in hydropower generation. Also to be financed are a number of feasibility studies for electricity generation on Malawi’s major rivers.

The World Bank funding will also be used for the Transfrontier Conservation Project, aimed at boosting ecotourism in potential sites in the Malawi-Zambia boarder areas, and for the Financial Sector Technical Assistance Project, aimed at increasing Malawians’ access to financial institutions like banks.

The World Bank funding comes at a time the Bretton Woods institution and other donors have suspended budgetary support to the Malawi government owing to concerns in the areas of economic management, governance and respect for human rights.

“Though we suspended budgetary support to Malawi, the World Bank continues to support Malawi in realising its development vision through supporting investment projects and providing relevant technical assistance,” says World Bank country manager for Malawi Sandra Bloemenkamp.

Development Partners Bloemenkamp urges Malawi to quickly address the issues raised by its development partners in order to be eligible to receive funding for budgetary support under the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF’s) Extended Credit Facility Programme.

Finance Minister Ken Lipenga says the Malawi government is determined to sort out any mis- understandings with the World Bank and its partners to ensure that programmes aided by the IMF and other donors are on track.

He also urges the US’s Millennium Challenge Corpor-ation (MCC) to emulate the World Bank and reverse its decision to suspend a $350-million grant to Malawi for the electricity sector.

The MCC suspended the grant following concerns over the Malawi government’s nonadherence to good governance and human rights standards after 20 people were killed in civil-society- led demonstrations over governance issues on July 20.

Malawi is currently in economic turmoil, characterised by acute shortages of fuel, foreign exchange, medicines in public hospitals and regular power outages that are crippling industrial operations.

About 30% of Malawi’s budget is financed by donors, who are withholding millions of dollars in aid owing to concerns over poor governance and human rights issues.

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