United Kingdom’s (UK) Strategic Defence and Security Review has announced a £1.3 billion (about K1.3 trillion) Prosperity Fund over the next five years to promote economic reform and development needed for growth in partner countries such as Malawi.
A statement released last week said the fund’s priorities will include improving the business climate, competitiveness and operation of markets, energy and financial sector reform. It will also increase the ability of partner countries to tackle corruption.
“We expect these reforms to create opportunities for international business, including UK companies,” the statement reads in part.
Apart from Malawi, the fund will also contribute to reduction in poverty in recipient countries including Angola, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia.
The Prosperity Fund will form a small, but integral element of the UK’s total Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment of 0.7 percent of its gross national income (GNI).
The statement further reads: “It will primarily be focused on ODA eligible middle income countries, contributing to poverty reduction and complementing [Department for International Development] DFID’s work in poorer countries.
“In this way, the Fund will contribute towards meeting the new Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs].”
Since 2011, the Prosperity Fund has supported the UKs Prosperity Priority on opening markets, ensuring access to resources and promoting sustainable global growth, mainly in the emerging powers.
Currently, the Southern Africa Prosperity Fund, administered through the British High Commission in Pretoria, South Africa, has started receiving proposals to boost inclusive growth and sustainable economic development through interventions in power, infrastructure, cities, skills and transparency in priority countries in the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) region.
In Malawi, business climate is a huge challenge to private sector growth, according to Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) Business Climate Survey 2015.
MCCCI president Newton Kambala recently said in an interview the challenges affecting businesses have remained the same over the years.
He said the cost of doing business, electricity, telecommunications, uncertainty in economic and regulatory policies and crime remain major obstacles to doing business in the country.
The proposal forms are available on www.gov.uk.