Lilongwe, 30 July 2008 – The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group has more than doubled its soft-loan window funding for Malawi, the Bank Group’s President, Donald Kaberuka, said in Lilongwe, Malawi, on Wednesday.
"Under our new soft loan lending cycle (2008-10), Malawi will receive a significant allocation -- more than doubling its level of previous resources to just under US$ 200 million," Mr. Kaberuka said at the official opening of the AfDB Malawi Country Office.
He said the decision was based on Malawi’s good economic performance.
Mr. Kaberuka said that due to reforms, Malawi had registered unprecedented economic growth and strong macroeconomic performance.
"These reform efforts are leading to major developments in the delivery of social services, economic growth and results which visibly impact the lives of the people," he said.
Mr. Kaberuka cited Malawi’s fertilizer subsidy programme as an example of positive reform that had helped address the cash constraints facing poor smallholder farmers, decreased food security and contributed to economic growth. He urged Malawi’s development partners to support the programme.
He also called on the Malawian parliament to endorse the AfDB’s budget support facility for Malawi, which had been approved by the Bank’s board in 2007.
"At this time of enormous turbulence and uncertainties in the global economy and its ramifications on us, it is important that we do not, either by commission or omission, act in any way that deepens the crisis.
"For our part, we will continue to be guided by Malawi’s own strategy for growth and development," Mr. Kaberuka told dignitaries at the ceremony.
Addressing the audience, Malawi Finance Minister, Goodall Gondwe, described the increase in the allocation as "enormous’.
He, however, urged the AfDB to relax some of its funding regulations to help ensure that the funding was more readily available to Malawi.
The AfDB Group currently has nine operations worth US$ 170 million in Malawi. The operations are mainly in the economic and social sectors, including rural infrastructure.
The AfDB also provides budgetary support to the Government of Malawi.