The World Bank has approved $100 million (about K80 billion) in financing for Malawi to support increased access, particularly for female students, to skills development programs in priority areas of the economy that are most relevant to the labor market.
The Skills for a Vibrant Economy (SAVE) Project is designed to provide skills development support through programs offered in selected tertiary education institutions spanning higher education and technical, entrepreneurial, and vocational education and training (TEVET), with special attention on demand-driven approaches to boost labor force skills, women’s empowerment, digital skills and technology, institutional strengthening and learning continuity.
“We are pleased to embark on the SAVE project, which will help us better prepare and support youth skills development in Malawi. Although access to tertiary education has been increasing in Malawi, enrolment rates remain low and compare unfavorably with regional and world averages. The SAVE project’s focus on increasing access to higher education and TEVET skills development programs will help us move quickly on ensuring that additional youth have the opportunity to achieve their potential and the skills necessary to meet the demands of the economy and the labor market in line with Malawi 2063”; said Minister of Education Agnes NyaLonje.
According to Labor Deputy Minister Hon. Vera Kantukule, the SAVE project will establish partnerships with relevant industries and private sector entities to supports skills development in priority areas, namely agriculture, education, energy, health, industry, and ICT as well as updating courses and training of lecturers, professors, and staff.
“By supporting industry and private sector engagement, the SAVE project will help ensure that as we focus on developing skills in priority areas of the economy, we align to labor market needs in order to better prepare our youth for the job market, and promote job creation, aligned to national development priorities” said Kantukule.
The project will support nine higher education institutions, seven national technical colleges, and about 30 skills development institutions. Over its lifetime, SAVE will benefit 45,000 university students and 65,000 technical and vocational students.
World Bank Country Manager for Malawi noted that the project uses global lessons from World Bank skills development and training projects and builds on past World Bank support in Malawi. It also works to support institutions in supporting learning continuity and resilience as they implement institutional development plans.
“The WBG’s new 5-year Country Partnership Framework is focused on promoting private sector led job creation in line with the objectives of Malawi 2063. This new WBG investment will help Malawi’s youth prepare for the job market, while also helping MSMEs by raising the level of skills and entrepreneurship in the market,” said Hugh Riddell.
The project supports the achievement of Malawi’s key strategic priorities in the education sector, as outlined in the National Education Sector Investment Plan, which aims to increase access and equity, improve quality and relevance, and address key challenges in terms of the governance and management in higher education and technical and vocational training.