UK gives Malawi govt. a cold shoulder


Britain has again refused to flex its muscles on releasing aid to Malawi advising the country to move away from expecting handouts year after year, Malawi24 can reveal.

Jen Marshall

‘Malawi must move away from food handouts’ DFID Head, Jen Marshall

A statement issued by DFID in the country announcing the release of K8.75 billion (£10m/$15m) UK aid package reveals that Britain will continue supporting Malawi through NGOs. The UK suspended its aid to Malawi  following the discovery of the cashgate scandal in September, 2013.

The aid package released yesterday intends to support over 2.8 million people likely to be without food this year due to the floods that hit Malawi early this year. The crisis is being exacerbated by market distortions which are pushing food prices up and leaving food stocks across the country at dangerously low level.

However, DFID stated that the multibillion UKaid package will not be released directly through government or the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) which is under the office of the Vice president.

Rather, UK has released the package through three international organisations, namely: Save the Children, UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP). These organisation will then procure basic food supplies as part of emergency food handouts.  DoDMA will be updated by the three NGOs on the progress of the respective exercises.

Meanwhile, Head of the DFID Malawi office, Ms. Jen Marshall, has advised government to come up with measures “to move away from requiring food assistance year after year”.

“To break this cycle, in addition to our humanitarian support, the UK is working to ensure that the very poorest people benefit from Britain’s longer-term investment in large-scale resilience, disaster mitigation and economic development programmes across Malawi. These programmes are helping the country and Malawian families to prevent food crises and cope with the double impact of extreme poverty and climate change” reads part of the statement issued by her office.

DFID had not yet responded to our question if their current position to work directly with NGOs rather than government was an indication that Malawi is yet to convince the UK of measures undertaken to prevent the cashgate scandal from ever happening.

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