Two women and one child carry home bags with food on their heads.


    Escaping poverty: new impetus for rural areas

    Map of Malawi

    Malawi is one of the smaller countries in Africa, with an area only slightly larger than that of Iceland. However, with 192 inhabitants per square kilometre, Malawi is one of the most densely populated countries in south-east Africa (for comparison: Germany has 233 inhabitants/square kilometre). It has 20 million inhabitants, more than a third cannot read or write. Agriculture is the livelihood of the majority of the population. The main products for export are tea, sugar and, above all, tobacco, which generates one third of export earnings.

    Strong population growth makes it difficult to meet the country’s challenges. Droughts and unevenly distributed rainfall lead to poor harvests and repeatedly exacerbate the already difficult food situation in the country. The result? Many people are hungry, and malnutrition is common. Seven out of ten inhabitants currently live below the poverty line of USD 1.90 per day. Malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and respiratory diseases are widespread. Moreover, maternal and child mortality remain very high. Money, personnel and medical equipment are lacking in hospitals and health stations. Due to poor nutrition, many children die early while others do not develop in line with their age group.

    On behalf of the German Federal Government, KfW supports Malawi in the following areas:

    • sustainable economic development, training and employment
    • health, social protection and population policy
    • life without hunger

    In Malawi, most people live off the products of their own farming. One of the focus areas of German development cooperation is the economic development of rural areas. Access to financing for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises is usually restricted. In order to increase income and employment in rural areas, particularly for the poorer population, KfW is supporting the financing of innovative business models for private companies in cooperation with the UN Development Programme (UNDP). KfW also promotes the building and expansion of local markets.

    Together with international donors, the Malawian Ministry of Health has launched a work programme with the involvement of KfW. Health stations are being built, renovated and better equipped, and vaccines and access to advanced family planning methods are being funded.

    To secure livelihoods, particularly poor households in Malawi receive a monthly subsidy currently equivalent to USD 12. This nationwide “Social Cash Transfer Programme”, which was financed by various donors – including KfW – has proven its value, particularly in times of crisis.

    With budget funds from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), KfW is also promoting the Malawian programme for food security, which teaches local mothers about healthy nutrition and hygiene, preventive health care and early childhood development. They also receive vitamin and mineral supplements to enhance their health and that of their children.

    KfW projects are helping to overcome widespread poverty in Malawi and improve livelihoods.

    Project information – Private sector development

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