World Bank Provides Hope to Drought Stricken Malawi

November 8, 2016

WASHINGTON, November 8, 2016— The World Bank has approved $174 million to help millions of Malawians facing food shortages and other drought induced challenges recover and build resilience against future weather related shocks.  The financing has been provided through two projects – the Malawi Drought Recovery and Resilience Project (MDRRP) with a grant of $104 million, and the Strengthening Safety Nets Systems Project (SSNSP) - Malawi Social Action Fund (MASAF) IV with a grant of $47.68 million and a credit of $22.32million.

Malawi has suffered two consecutive poor agricultural seasons leaving 6.5 million people unable to meet their food requirements during 2016/2017. The Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee says for these affected people to manage up to the next harvest period in April/May 2017 without disrupting their socio-economic livelihoods they require about half a million metric tons of maize.

“Our drought recovery needs are immense estimated at $500 million dollars. The swift response from the World Bank is therefore greatly appreciated as it will help save lives and restore livelihoods of about a third of our population affected by drought,” said Honourable Goodall Gondwe, Malawi’s Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development.

Under the MDRRP, the funds will be used to meet urgent food security needs of over 1.6 million people by procuring maize locally and internationally at a cost of $50 million. Local purchase will be carried out by the National Food Reserve Agency, while the international procurement will be done by the World Food Program. The grant will also be used to scale-up the input for assets program (IFA) currently being implemented by the Malawi Floods Emergency Recovery Project, also supported by the World Bank. The scaled up IFA will allow for an increase in the districts covered from 15 to 24.

Through IFA, about 200,000 beneficiaries will receive improved seeds and fertilizer packages in return for working on community assets such as rural feeder roads, catchment management and repairs to irrigation infrastructure. The MDRRP will also help increase agriculture productivity and resilience through promoting drought resistant crops such as sorghum and millet. It will further enhance drought resilience and preparedness by rehabilitating critical water supply infrastructure, constructing water harvesting infrastructure, and drought contingency planning for all the five water boards.

The MASAF IV additional financing will scale up a number of productive safety nets to help increase impact on household-level incomes and food security, and reduce households’ exposure to risks associated with climate change and other disasters.  The productive community-driven public works program (PWP) will be scaled up to offer an additional 1,000,000 households short-term employment in four cycles a year in 2016 and 2017. The social cash transfer program targeting the poorest and most vulnerable labor-constrained households will be expanded to nine districts that have remained uncovered by the program help reach full national coverage. The project will also invest in livelihoods and skills development through the already successful COMSIP program.

“With Malawi’s economy and livelihoods highly dependent on agriculture, the current crisis creates opportunities to undertake reforms and resilience measures that will enable the country to emerge stronger. We are committed to help the country in this regard,” said Richard Record, Acting Country Manager for the World Bank in Malawi.

Given the scale of the drought and the unprecedented recovery needs in Malawi, the World Bank is taking the lead in the multi-partner crisis response, providing the country with emergency resources totaling $223.25 million from the International Development Association, the World Bank’s fund for the poorest. 

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