Mutharika complains over declining assistance to poor countries


Malawian President Peter Mutharika has expressed concern over decreasing development assistance to Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

Mutharika expressed the concern when addressing a United Nations (UN) conference on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the United States on Monday. The Malawi leader was speaking on behalf of LDCs.

Mutharika speaking at the conference

He noted that in 2018, bilateral official development assistance to LDCs fell by 3 percent.

“As I speak, less official development assistance is going to LDCs and African countries, where it is most needed,” he said.

In his speech, Mutharika also talked about the plight of developing countries.

He said the countries are behind in development and are at risk of being left further behind even though they are touted as countries with the greatest potential to develop.

The Malawi leader backed up his statement with statistics.  He said growth rate in LDCs is projected to decline to 4.6 percent in 2019 while more than 35 percent of people in the poor countries are living under extreme poverty.

“LDCs are hosting 30 percent of all undernourished people of the world.

“About 49 percent of our population do not have access to electricity. Internet access only stands at 17 percent. The share of manufacturing in LDCs remains low. As a result, we are forced to be importers and consumers while unemployment of the youth rises,” Mutharika said.

He also noted that poor countries suffer most devastations of climate change despite contributing the least to pollution and climate change.

“Our societies are characterized by widespread inequality. We are societies with the most vulnerable people on Earth. This means we have more vulnerable people who suffer the worst of tragedies of climate change,” he said.

The Malawi leader noted that poor countries’ efforts to mobilize resources domestically are constrained by serious challenges. He then called for greater investment in climate action by development partners.

At the conference, the LDCs asked for an initial US$450m (about K328 billion) of investment over 10 years in the LDC Initiative for Effective Adaptation and Resilience (LIFE-AR) to help them deliver adaptation and resilience work.

Malawi will be one of first six LDCs to benefit from the climate funds.