The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group’s Malawi Field Office (MWFO) opened for business Tuesday following the presentation of letters of accreditation by the Resident Representative, Frank Kufakwandi, to the country’s Foreign Minister, Joyce Banda, in Lilongwe, the Bank said in a release.
“Kufakwandi informed the minister about the Bank’s appreciation of the country’s macroeconomic stability, its growth rate of 8% in 2006, and its improved performance in the agriculture sector which recorded a bumper harvest during the 2006 season,” the release added.
He also emphasised the Bank’s commitment to continue working with other donors in support of Malawi’s Growth and Development Strategy in the domains of sustainable economic growth, social protection, social development, infrastructure, and good governance.
Kufakwandi, who had earlier paid a courtesy call on the Finance Minister, Goodall Gondwe, stressed the need to work towards making Malawi competitive both in the SADC (Southern African Development Community) regional and global markets.
Banda, for her part, expressed the government’s appreciation of the Bank’s decision to open the Malawi office as a means of deepening dialogue with the government.
The operations of the Bank Group in Malawi commenced in 1969. To date, the cumulative commitments of the Group in the country stand at US$1.266 billion in 140 operations.
The field offices are part of the Bank Group’s decentralisation strategy aimed at strengthening its operations in regional member countries.
The first batch of offices were opened in 2000 in Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon and Nigeria; followed by Mozambique, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, and Tunisia, which was superseded by the relocation of the Bank in 2003 to Tunisia from Cote d’Ivoire following the Ivorian crisis.
The third batch (2004-2005) comprised Algeria, DR Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, and Rwanda; while fourth batch was completed in 2006 in Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Sudan, and Zambia.
According to the Bank, the offices are expected to strengthen in-country activity and knowledge, conduct policy and strategy dialogue with countries, participate in donor consultations, and constitute a focal point for key project implementation.