Malawi loses $7bn annually to unsustainable resource use

Principal secretary for Local Government and Rural Development Kester Kaphaizi
Principal secretary for Local Government and Rural Development Kester Kaphaizi

Experts say Malawi is losing over $7 billion of its annual earnings every year due to unsustainable use of its natural resources.

UNDP assistant resident representative in Malawi Jan Ripjma said this recently at the launch of the Decentralised Climate Change Guidelines in Lilongwe.

Ripjma said basing on a study ‘The Economic Valuation of Sustainable Natural Resources Use in Malawi,’ up to 5.1 percent of Malawi’s income is lost through soil erosion, deforestation, decreased fish catches and diminished energy generation and other issues.

He said the poor are mostly affected by challenges that have arisen due to climate change.

“This is typically felt at local level where most of the vulnerable families in Malawi live and whose livelihood depends so much on natural resources,” he said.

According to Ripjma, the vulnerability at district level is further compounded by increasing incidence in natural disasters.

“For example, before 2001, only nine districts in Malawi were classified as flood prone.  In 2010, [the number rose to] 14 districts,” he said.

Principal Secretary for Local Government and Rural Development Kester Kaphaizi said Malawi continues to face alarming degradation of the environment which results in loss of soil fertility, deforestation, water depletion, pollution and loss of biodiversity.

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