Malawi A small country facing big challenges
Malawi’s economic progress is very dependent on external factors like the weather and price developments on global markets. The government is willing to pursue reforms and advance Malawi’s development, but it is not able to satisfy people’s basic needs and achieve tangible improvements in their living conditions due to insufficient public revenues, inefficient administrative structures and a lack of qualified personnel in the public sector.
Malawi is currently experiencing what is probably its biggest economic crisis since gaining independence in 1964. The country is highly indebted and because of a lack of foreign currency it is no longer even able to import enough vital goods like fuel or medicines. The agricultural sector lacks seeds and fertiliser. According to the World Food Programme (WFP), more than a quarter of the population is affected by chronic food insecurity.
Devastation caused by cyclone Freddy
In mid-March 2023, the country was hit by the unusually long-lasting cyclone Freddy. More than half a million people have been affected by the impacts of this tropical storm, with the German NGO Welthungerhilfe saying that it has reversed years of development progress. Since many fields were destroyed, aid organisations are warning that a famine may be on the way. In addition, since early 2022, Malawi has been hit by the worst outbreak of cholera on record. Experts fear that the number of infections is going to rise much further because of the flooding.
Malawi counts as a least developed country (LDC). On the current United Nations Human Development Index (HDI), Malawi is ranked 169th out of 191 states.
German development cooperation with Malawi
The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is assisting the Malawian government in implementing its development strategies. The topmost goals of development cooperation are reducing poverty and increasing resilience towards negative impacts like climate change, epidemics and economic shocks.
In 2021, the German government made a new development cooperation commitment of 64.2 million euros to Malawi for a two-year period. In addition, Malawi is receiving funding of up to 24.4 million euros via the Special Initiative “Transformation of Agricultural and Food Systems”.
Cooperation with Malawi focuses on the following core areas.
- Peaceful and inclusive societies | Area of intervention: Good governance
- Transformation of agricultural and food systems | Area of intervention: Food security
- Sustainable economic development, training and employment | Area of intervention: Private sector and financial sector development
- Health, social protection and population policy | Areas of intervention: Population policy; sexual and reproductive health and rights; social protection
Projects in the former priority area of basic education are currently being concluded. Under the framework of the German BACKUP Initiative – Education in Africa (External link), the BMZ is supporting Malawi in implementing digital solutions to expand and improve education and thereby also mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the education sector.
In addition, Malawi is benefiting from other supranational projects in areas such as renewable energy, nature conservation/biodiversity, microfinance and vocational training.
SDG trends for Malawi
- On track or maintaining SDG achievement
- Moderately improving
- Trend information unavailable