The British Government has announced that Malawi is among eight countries that will benefit from a new £119 million (about K119 billion) aid package aimed at combating the threat of coronavirus and famine.
This was said in a statement issued on Wednesday by the British High Commission, which also announced the merger of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development with the Foreign Office to create the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
Apart from Malawi, the statement indicates that other beneficiaries of the aid package are Somalia, Yemen, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Central African Republic, the Sahel, South Sudan and Sudan.
In Malawi, the financial support will target efforts to reduce malnutrition and child deaths through a new partnership with Unicef to provide nutrition services to mothers and children.
Reads the statement in part: “The UK will commit a new £119 million aid package to tackle the combined threat of coronavirus and famines, which is expected to help alleviate extreme hunger for over six million people in Yemen, DRC, Somalia, Central African Republic, the Sahel, South Sudan and Sudan.”
In April this year, the World Food Programme warned that about 265 million people in developing countries are at risk of hunger this year as Covid-19 threatens lives and livelihoods along with the trading networks people rely on for survival.
Alongside the aid package, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has appointed Nick Dyer as the UK’s first Special Envoy for Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Affairs to work in partnership with other donors, United Nation agencies, non-governmental organisations and foundations to help prevent catastrophic famine.
Raab further urged countries to step up alongside the UK to fight back against Covid-19 and the growing risk of famine in developing countries, according to the statement.
He said: “Coronavirus and famine threaten millions in some of the world’s poorest countries, and give rise to direct problems that affect the UK, including terrorism and migration flows.
“We can only tackle these global challenges by combining our diplomatic strength with our world-leading aid expertise.”
The UK has so far pledged £774 million of aid to support the global effort to combat Covid-19. It is also the largest donor to Gavi-the Vaccine Alliance, which is helping to ensure poor countries can access any Covid-19 vaccine.