MALAWI – Malawi has received US$35m from the U.S. government through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), aimed to support economic recovery in the country especially the agriculture sector.

The funding will be channelled towards a five-year project set to focus on empowering women and youth, expanding agricultural commercialization, increasing household and community resilience, and addressing the impacts from a changing climate.

It is set to generate jobs and incomes for smallholder farmers and increase agricultural and food exports for the country, and is designed to complement the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s efforts in Malawi targeting to reduce poverty through economic growth.

The initiative is also in line with the country’s vision 2063 that targets for Malawi to become a self-reliant, upper-middle income country over the next four decades.

Malawi’s economy is largely dependent on agriculture, with 80 percent of Malawians working in the sector, but productivity is constrained by declining farm sizes and degraded soils and watersheds.

Most farming households in Malawi are extremely vulnerable to climatic shocks due to this severe environmental degradation combined with the ongoing impacts of climate change.

The goal of the new initiative is to promote a more inclusive, gender equitable, diversified, and resilient private sector that drives sustainable wealth creation that includes Malawi’s diverse and under-resourced communities.

The initiative will strengthen rural economic hubs around value chains or companies that act as anchors for an ecosystem of actors, from smallholder farmers, to service providers and value-added processing.

Meanwhile in Lesotho, the OPEC Fund for International Development has issued its US$19m support towards the country’s “Regeneration of Landscape and Livelihood Project” (ROLL).

Roll is expected to benefit rural communities in the southern Africa country, whose economy is largely based on agriculture with 70 per cent of rural households depending on it.

The goal of ROLL is for rural communities to adopt transformational practices for regenerated landscapes and sustainable livelihoods.

For this, the program aims at adapting practices of using resources, the reduction of environmental degradation, the improvement of livelihoods, and securing funding for landscape regeneration.

The project will be rolled out in northern, northwestern, central and southern regions of Lesotho, covering around 2,240 villages and directly benefitting 100,000 people corresponding to 68,000 rural households, and indirectly reach approximately 340,000 people.

Out of these, 40 percent will be women and 20 percent young people who are expected to particularly benefit from the creation of new income generating activities.

By issuing the loan, OPEC Fund joins IFAD, the Global Environment Facility, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the government of Lesotho and others in support of the program.

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