The German government has given Malawi 10 million euros (about K11.4 billion) for two programmes that will help increase employment and income in rural areas.
The programme comprises two components allocated seven million euros (about K8.4 billion) while the second will get three million euros (K3 billion) through KfW, a Germany development bank and the More Income and Employment in Rural Areas (Miera)
The first component to be implemented through Local Development Fund (LDF) will see construction of markets nationwide with Zomba, Neno, Nkhata Bay, Neno and Thyolo districts being the first beneficiary districts.
Component two will be the provision of matching grants to private companies for inclusive business models through the Malawi Innovation Challenge Fund (Micf), according to the programme brief.
The expected impact includes the creation of about 1 400 jobs and an increase in income for more than 20 500 households.
In an interview on the sidelines of an inception report meeting on how the funds will be used on Thursday, LDF executive director Charles Mandala said the meetings will be a continuous process of consulting, understanding and redefining the Miera to make it better, efficient and create a conducive environment for the creation of more income and employment.
He said: “Component one of the programme is focusing on the improvement of economic infrastructure to strengthen the supporting environment for doing business in rural areas and as a general rule market infrastructure priorities.
“These potential market infrastructures will be based on the demand expressed by district councils based on a responsive evaluated proposal after the call for proposals launched under the LDF decentralisation programme.”
Mandala said measures will be put in place to ensure that the constructed infrastructure is adequately used, operated and maintained.
KfW senior project coordinator Patience Masi said the programme will fast-track the construction of infrastructure such as markets as one way of helping government to reduce poverty and create jobs.
Zomba City Council chief executive officer Dyson Jangia said the funds will go towards completion of the Sadzi Market in the district.
“This market was not fully completed and there was overcrowding. With these funds, we will add new stalls and benches as well as construct an abattoir which will reduce complaints by residents that they were eating uninspected meat,” said Jangiya.
Nkhata Bay District Council monitoring and evaluation officer Kondwani Ghambi commended government and KfW for selecting Nkhata Bay to be one of the first beneficiaries.