AfDB President Adesina pledges support to Malawi and urges sustained reforms

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The President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, on Tuesday, April 5, 2016 began a two-day visit in Blantyre, Malawi, where he has pledged to continue supporting Malawi’s efforts to diversify its economy, achieve sustainable growth and reduce poverty.

Leading a team of senior Bank staff, Akinwima Adesina was received by Malawi President Arthur Peter Mutharika and his Government.

“As African leaders, we recognize the role the Bank plays in our economies, particularly in breaking the circle of food insecurity, and in the development of infrastructure and the private sector. In Malawi, we try to find long-term solutions for food security and private sector development. We know that we can succeed with the support of institutions like the African Development Bank,” Mutharika declared.

The AfDB President assured him that the Bank remains committed to the long-standing partnership with a shared objective of improving the lives of Malawians through social and economic transformation.

“We are here because we want to fully support you to meet the challenges facing the country. The Bank will increase its support in energy, agriculture, infrastructure, regional integration,” Adesina said. “We need to transform agriculture in Malawi and get young people into agriculture,” he added.

Adesina also noted with concern two major challenges facing Malawi: the difficult macro-economic situation – manifested in high inflation and slow growth – which has been compounded by the severe food shortage arising from weather shocks. However he commended the Government for its tenacity in tackling the challenges under difficult circumstances and for the remarkable reform efforts and bringing the International Monetary Fund Extended Credit Facility programme back on track.

He announced an AfDB’s drought response package of US $35 million for Malawi, of which US $1 million will be put towards immediate assistance and US $7 million for fast response, with the remaining amount for projects to deal with food insecurity in Malawi.

The President encouraged the Malawi Government to sustain the reform effort, particularly in fiscal policy and public financial management to restore macroeconomic stability and instill private-sector confidence. He reaffirmed the Bank’s commitment to assist Malawi to build resilience and achieve sustainable development through support for irrigation and other key national and regional infrastructure developments in energy and transport that are also key for private sector development and unlocking Malawi’s large potential.

Since assuming the Presidency of the Bank, Akinwumi Adesina has spearheaded actions by the institution to drive inclusive and green growth for Africa in areas of high impact, building strategic partnerships and mobilizing resources to scale up initiatives and operations on the continent, sharply focusing its work on five top priorities, the “High 5s”: Light up and power Africa, Feed Africa, Integrate Africa, Industrialize Africa, and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

President Adesina noted that in Malawi, like the rest of Africa, less than 20 percent of the population has access to electricity, adding that Africa is simply tired of being in the dark. Therefore the African Development Bank’s New Deal on Energy for Africa aims to accelerate access to energy by 2025 and plans to invest over US $12 billion in the energy sector. It hopes to leverage US $40-50 billion in the energy sector in the next five years.

This was the AfDB’s President first visit to Malawi since assuming office on September 1, 2015.

Since 1969, the AfDB has financed more than 100 operations in Malawi to the tune of over US $1.2 billion. Its current portfolio comprises a total commitment value of US $310 million, with the infrastructure sector, including transport, water and energy, accounting for 60% of total commitments.