The Washington Post runs another hard-hitting piece on the famine plaguing one of the poorest nations on earth: Malawi. Dawn's Early Light is especially concerned about Malawi [See DEL IR: Malawi] especially since Tod Bolsigner's church, San Clemente Presbyterian, has made a 10-year commitment along with other churches and World Vision to transforming the Nkhoma region of the country.
"An estimated 5 million of Malawi's 12 million people are hungry this year, according to the United Nations. Hospitals also report higher rates of malnutrition and, with the harvest still five months away, unusually large numbers of hungry children are beginning to sicken and die in rural areas."
Craig Timberg, who wrote the article for the Washington Post, seems to indicate that the World Bank is possibly to blame, along with the move in Malawi away from its historic dictatorship. Dawn's Early Light's view is that the growing problems in Malawi can be traced primarily to corruption in Malawi. Mr. Timberg writes:
"Malawian agriculture once appeared to have a brighter future. A state-run farm agency, although widely criticized as overbearing, sold reliable supplies of seeds and fertilizer and guaranteed prices for whatever was grown. And for a time, the government actively sought ways to build irrigation networks drawing on the mighty Shire River that flows through the dry, destitute valley south of Blantyre, Malawi's commercial center.
But in the past 20 years, under pressure from the World Bank and donor nations, Malawi has liberalized its agricultural economy and dismantled the state-run agricultural system. The government's clumsy implementation of this change has led to complaints from farmers such as Bingolosi about the market's failure to deliver a more efficient and bountiful harvest. The government has also sold off state food reserves at times, leaving nothing for emergencies.
Meanwhile, various water schemes have remained on the drawing board. Today less than 1 percent of this southern African nation, roughly the size of Pennsylvania, is irrigated, and that land mainly belongs to commercial farms that grow tea, sugar and tobacco for export."
The World Bank has published a summary of its activities in Malawi (Source: World Bank):
|Project Name||Amount||Start Date||End Date|
|Secondary Education Project||54.70||24-Mar-98||31-Dec-05|
|Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Project||39.50||10-Jun-99||31-Mar-06|
|Privatization and Utility Reform Project||32.20||27-Jun-00||31-Dec-05|
|Regional Trade Facilitation Project - Malawi||45.00||3-Apr-01||30-Jun-11|
|Mulanje Mt. Biodiversity Conservation Project||7.02||17-Apr-01||30-Jun-08|
|Financial Mgmt, Transparency & Accountability||27.40||6-Mar-03||1-Mar-08|
|Third Social Action Fund (MASAF III)||77.08||10-Jun-03||31-Dec-06|
|Multi-Sectoral AIDS Project (MAP)||274.74||25-Aug-03||31-Dec-08|
|Development Learning Center project||5.25||11-Mar-04||30-Jun-09|
|Fiscal Mgmt and Accelerating Growth Program||50.00||13-Apr-04||30-Jun-06|
|Community-Based Rural Land Development||29.78||13-Apr-04||30-Jun-09|
|Health Sector Reform Project||735.00||14-Dec-04||15-Sep-08|
|Education Sector Support Project 1||32.20||3-May-05||15-Sep-10|
|Malawi Emergency Recovery Loan||30.00||15-Sep-05||31-Dec-06|
|Total Active Development Projects||$1,442||(millions)|