BLANTYRE--The World Bank, one of the major sponsors of Malawi's economic reforms, on Tuesday granted the southern African nation $110million to support rural road infrastructure, agriculture, nutrition and to stem HIV infection in one of the countries plagued by AIDS.
“This financing is there as an additional support to enable new interventions in the agricultural diversification, commercialization and the access to the markets,” Sandra Bloemenkamp, World Bank country manager for Malawi, said at the signing ceremony with Finance Minister Ken Lipenga.
Bloemenkamp said the project "will look beyond food security and will address some key constraints in the business environment to facilitate and attract more private investments in the agricultural sector."
Some 450 kilometres of roads in areas of high agricultural potential in the country's five districts will be rehabilitated, the local World Bank chief said, adding that $30 million of the funds will be used for this purpose.
The chunk of the cash will go towards nutrition HIV and AIDS support, for the "betterment of malnourished children and those living with HIV."
She said: “Although Malawi is making progress in reducing Adult HIV prevalence, at 10.6 per cent; it still remains one of the highest in the world. This project will help the national response to HIV and AIDS, and the priority objective of reducing the number of new HIV infections."
She said preventing new infections was "the only way to get the upper hand on this epidemic and the only path to a Malawi free of AIDS."
Over a million people out of the 14 million citizens are infected with AIDS, while some 300,000 Malawians are enrolled on free AIDS drugs.
Malawi is implementing a five year HIV/AIDS national response strategy which seeks to promote behavior change, prevention of infection, mitigation, treatment and care.
Lipenga said with the funds, his country will be able to implement this program and "help millions of Malawians access vital HIV/AIDS information.”
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