European Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen reaffirms strong EU-Malawi partnership
European Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, paid an official visit to Malawi on 27 and 28 October 2022. The visit demonstrated the enhanced political engagement between partners and reaffirmed the longstanding strong ties and deepening partnership between the EU and Malawi.
Commissioner Urpilainen said: “In the current complex geopolitical context, the EU and Malawi are committed to facing global challenges together. Through the Global Gateway and Malawi’s support to the EU in multilateral fora, we are both committed to building trusted people-to-people connections and strengthening our partnership. The EU supports Malawi to combat food insecurity, caused by Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, and through our Annual Action Plan, we are supporting the growth of Malawi’s agro-economy, governance and human development.”
Commissioner Urpilainen met H.E. President Lazarus Chakwera where she presented the Global Gateway strategy, the EU’s positive offer to establish smart and sustainable connections in the digital, energy, transport, education and health sectors across the world. The President and the Commissioner exchanged on areas where Malawi and EU will work together under the new Multi-Annual Indicative Programme, (MIP), which comprises 352m EUR for the period 2021-24.
Jointly with the Minister of Finance, Honourable Sosten Gwengwe, Commissioner Urpilainen also officially signed 6 financing agreements under the EU-Malawi Annual Action Plan 2022, with a total of €110 million in funding from the European Union, to be channelled to the Malawi Energy Programme, Green agro-economy, Democratic Governance Programme, Access to Justice and a food security response facility.
During the visit, Commissioner Urpilainen, together with the Minister of Health, Hon. Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda and the Deputy Minister of Education, Hon. Monica Ching’anamuno visited Lisasadzi Residential Training Centre (RTC) in Kasungu. They appreciated the ongoing training of government extension workers and lead farmers, and learned how banana orchards tie in with a revitalisation of the local banana market. They inspected study plots for different crop varieties and farming techniques, including pest control, soil rehabilitation and climate change adaptation.
The Commissioner had the opportunity to interact with farmer organisations and youth who are receiving support from the EU supported Kulima Programme to improve their agricultural production and linkages to market opportunities. The Commissioner also met with women involved in nutrition sensitive interventions. They presented to the Commissioner how they apply their newly acquired knowledge to prepare meals for schoolchildren in Kasungu district using vegetables grown in the study plots at the site. This shows the mutual linkages between two major EU-funded programmes in Malawi, Kulima and Afikepo.
Commissioner Urpilainen also met with representatives of the Malawian youth and outlined the EU’s commitment to young people in partner countries by launching in Malawi the EU Youth Action Plan. She also interacted with influential women leaders, among whom the Minister of Gender, Hon. Patricia Kaliati and reiterated the EU’s stance on gender equality, which is participation of women and girls in all spheres of public life, including in decision-making and in the economy.