News story

UK reinforces strong historic ties to Malawi

International Development Minister James Wharton has completed his first visit to Malawi to see how UK aid is supporting hundreds of thousands of people during a prolonged food crisis.

Malawi is one of the world’s poorest countries with some of the worst development indicators for a country not in conflict. It now faces one of its worst food insecurity crises since independence, affecting 6.5 million people. UK aid is playing a critical role in improving the lives of millions of poor children and adults with a significant programme of ongoing support in health, education, agriculture, water and sanitation, and economic development.

During a 3 day trip, Minister Wharton saw the impact of the humanitarian crisis caused by severe droughts resulting from the El Niño weather phenomenon. The Minister announced £8.1 million of new lifesaving UK support, which in partnership with the World Food Programme, will provide hundreds of thousands of people with maize vouchers to relieve hunger.

Mr Wharton said:

The UK has a strong historic relationship with Malawi which we want to see go from strength to strength. UK Aid is supporting the country’s continued economic growth, helping combat the effect of El Niño and is deepening the links between British businesses and the local economy – which is firmly in Malawi and the UK’s national interests.

During my visit I met with those worst affected by the ongoing drought and saw first-hand how the UK is providing lifesaving assistance. Global Britain is leading the way in helping to prevent and prepare for the impact of El Niño by providing vital supplies of food, water and shelter to people in urgent need.

This support continues a strong track record of UK humanitarian support in Malawi, which has already provided:

  • access to food and nutrition for over 1.5 million people
  • nutritional screening of over 800,000 children and treatment of approximately 100,000 children, pregnant and lactating mothers and vulnerable adults who are suffering from acute and moderate malnutrition
  • emergency school feeding for over 60,000 primary age children in the worst affected districts.

Last year’s El Nino is one of the strongest on record and has impacted many regions of the world, with 60 million people already in need of assistance around the world. As a globally engaged and outward looking nation, the UK has played a leading role in the international response to El Nino in Africa and is encouraging other donors to step up. Over 4 million people have already been supported by DFID programmes in the Horn and Southern Africa.

Minister Wharton also held talks with key stakeholders on how Malawi can break the cycle of food insecurity, adapt to climate change and continue with market reforms that encourage private sector-led economic growth.