The U.S. government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), announces the launch of a new $40 million (approximately 46.4 billion MWK) project that will work with anchor firms to expand centers of economic opportunity (“Growth Poles”) for smallholder farmers, youth, and women, and help approximately 500,000 Malawians increase and diversify their income sources. USAID’s five-year Growth Poles Project will be implemented by Palladium and will leverage $500 million (approximately 580 billion MWK) in private sector investments. These new partnerships are designed to improve food security and bolster exports from Malawi. Through the new project, USAID will team up with key firms in rural areas that serve as engines of economic growth to mobilize responsible business investments and deliver positive benefits for surrounding communities. Additionally, by employing climate-smart natural resource management, these partnerships will protect 150,000 hectares of land from deforestation or soil degradation.
According to USAID Mission Director Pamela Fessenden, “Now more than ever, Malawi needs new drivers of growth to jumpstart economic recovery and bolster employment opportunities for a rapidly growing, youthful population—which can only be achieved through a thriving and inclusive private sector. This new project will support the Malawi 2063 development agenda by accelerating environmentally sustainable, socially inclusive, and economically resilient wealth creation.
This week, Fessenden will travel to Blantyre, Chikwawa, Thyolo, and Mulanje to meet with some of USAID’s private sector partners, including Illovo Sugar Malawi, Phata Sugarcane Cooperative, Satemwa, Lujeri Tea Estate, and Sukambizi Association Trust. She will also meet with young entrepreneurs and micro, small, and medium enterprises that USAID supports with workforce readiness skills-building, including vocational and business training, and access to capital to help accelerate their business plans. Through the Growth Poles Project, USAID will partner with private sector firms across the country with shared interests to advance sustainable and inclusive economic growth in Malawi.