The Scottish Government's International Development Minister, Humza Yousaf, has announced at least £1.2 million to kick start vital projects next year that will help communities in Malawi out of poverty.
Opening a parliamentary debate on Scotland’s special relationship with Malawi, Mr Yousaf invited Scottish-based organisations to bid for the funding, which will strengthen the Scottish Government’s support for the nation – one of the world’s poorest.
The cash will build on £1.8 million already committed in 2013/14, taking the Scottish Government’s support for Malawi to at least £3 million during that period. The Scottish Government currently supports over 40 projects in Malawi.
It follows Education Secretary Mike Russell’s recent visit to Malawi, where he saw several Scottish-funded projects that are helping to improve education in the country and lifting families out of poverty.
He also met Malawian President Joyce Banda and invited her to Scotland in 2013 for the bicentenary of the birth of of explorer and missionary David Livingstone.
Opening the Malawi international development funding round, Mr Yousaf said: “This reinforces the special and long standing friendship between Malawi and Scotland, first established around 150 years ago by David Livingstone, one of Scotland’s greatest explorers."
He continued: “It will support the development of more vital projects in 2013 to help children and families in Malawi out of poverty, and it highlights the Scottish Government’s unwavering commitment to ensuring Scotland is a good global citizen, determined to play our part in addressing the challenges facing the world and helping its poorest people."
“We have demonstrated that by tripling our international development budget over the last three years to £9 million, and through our commitment to spending at least £3 million per year in Malawi,” said the minister.
The International Development Fund currently provides support to Scottish based organisations to work on the ground in eight countries around the world.
The Scottish Government has committed to spending at least £3 million per year in Malawi. This has helped to introduce an element of stability and continuity to the funding mechanisms and allowed resources to be targeted and focused more effectively. This year over £5 million has been allocated for Malawi, not including the forthcoming Climate Justice Fund projects.
The Scottish Government also support projects in Tanzania, Zambia and Rwanda within Africa and in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in South Asia.
All International Development funding is "clearly focused on the key objectives of poverty alleviation and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and must adhere to the principles of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and Busan Partnership for Development Co-operation," says the Government.
Within that, the Malawi Development Programme is focused on the four policy strands of the Scotland-Malawi Co-operation Agreement: civic governance and society, sustainable economic development, health and education. Particular strand priorities for funding were highlighted by the Government of Malawi strand leads at the Joint Permanent Commission of Co-operation, co-chaired by Mr Russell in Malawi on 2 November 2012.
* All applications are independently assessed before a recommendation goes to Ministers on which projects to fund. http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/International/int-dev