The African Development Bank (AfDB) is set to release $45.07 million to help boost the Malawi National COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan by financing the government’s response to the health, social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Minister of Finance Felix Mlusu confirmed the development with Nyasa Times in a telephone interview a short while ago.
The bank, through a statement issued on Thursday night and made available to Nyasa Times, says the package comprises a loan of $24.48 million, and a grant of $20.59 million as direct budget support, and complements an earlier sum of $8.9 million to six countries in the region, including Malawi, under the Bank’s COVID-19 Response grants to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries last month.
The budget support intervention, will help boost the Malawi National COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan that has been developed with multi-stakeholders including government, development partners and non-government organizations.
The Acting Bank Country Manager, Eyerusalem Fasika, said the bank’s support aims to protect lives; strengthen public health systems; protect livelihoods through enhanced social protection systems; foster economic resilience and protect jobs.
“The Bank’s support to Malawi’s COVID-19 Response Plan will help to cushion the economy from the negative impact on fiscal and current account balances, hence consolidating Malawi’s recovery efforts during this unprecedented time of COVID-19 pandemic,” said Fasika.
“The support will contribute towards laboratory and diagnostic capacity to test, trace, isolate and treat COVID-19 cases, strengthen the COVID-19 case management systems, train frontline healthcare workforce, and restore services disrupted by COVID-19, particularly for patients with underlying health conditions,” she added.
She further disclosed that the support to Malawi is part of the multi-country COVID-19 support package by the Bank that includes $41.1 million to Madagascar, $41.1 million to Mozambique and $10.23 million to Sao Tome and Principe.
“The processing of this multi-country program was combined into one group to ensure efficiency in the preparation of the Bank’s assistance to Regional Member Countries,” Fasika added.
In his remarks, Mlusu said government has lined up a number of initiatives and programmes to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.
He said financial support has come at the right time when Malawi is upscaling its efforts to contain the spread of the virus.
“So, these funds will go towards all the Covid-19 mitigating programmes. We are very grateful to the bank for the support,” he said.
Former president Peter Mutharika declared a State of Disaster on 20 March 2020 and consequently launched the National COVID-19 Preparedness Response Plan on 8 April 2020.