The partnership between the European Union and Malawi is based on the ACP-EU Cotonou Partnership Agreement. In a framework of respect for universal human rights, this landmark pact reaffirms the EU’s willingness to make a significant contribution to poverty eradication, sustainable development and gradual (regional and global) integration of African, Caribbean and Pacific countries into the world economy.
Energy, Environment, climate change
The EU in Malawi through its development cooperation budget has become a strategic development partner in environmental, natural resources and climate change management, providing support in specific thematic areas of climate change, agriculture, nutrition and food security.
Tackling issues of environmental and natural resources management is an integral part of flagship programmes such as Kutukula Ulimi m’Malawi (KULIMA) and AFIKEPO-Nutrition Programmes, and their successor Greening and Growing Malawi - Ulimi ndi Chilengedwe m’Malawi (UCHI), as well as Skills for Jobs Programme (Zantchito), Improving Secondary Education in Malawi (ISEM II), and Gender Responsive Social Protection programme.
To contribute to breaking the cycle of environmental degradation in Malawi, the EU under its Multiannual Indicative Programme (MIP) 2021-2027 for Malawi has included support to actions that will increase the country’s resilience to climate change, disaster risks and natural resource scarcity and degradation, and in so doing also protect and increase carbon sinks, thereby contributing to Malawi’s Nationally Determined Contribution.
In Malawi’s long-term development plan, Malawi 2063, the energy sector is recognised as one of the main enablers essential to transforming the country’s economy. Currently the Malawi electrical transmission system operates as a kind of “electrical island” within the region. Together with partners, the EU is funding the construction of the Mozambique-Malawi 400 kV Interconnector that will integrate Malawi in the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) and allow it to become a fully-fledged operating member of this important regional energy group.
The EU has also supported rural communities in the Chikwawa and Nsanje Districts through the construction of mini-grids (15 to 30 kW) for productive use in irrigation schemes as well as supplying schools and village energy kiosks
Science, Technology, Digitalisation
“Malawi 2063” foresees the creation of a vibrant knowledge-based digital economy through the promotion of reliable and affordable services, fostering technological adoption and digital access.
The EU, through the project “Leveraging digital finance to increase resilience of ACP countries”, is supporting the deployment of digital finance solutions to deepen financial inclusion and accelerate economic recovery from COVID-19. The programme, implemented by UNCDF, is working with the Reserve Bank of Malawi and other stakeholders to improve digital policies and regulations and create and strengthen digital finance ecosystems that support low income individuals, in particular women and youth, and MSMEs to mitigate immediate shocks of emergencies and seize economic opportunities.
The EU is also cooperating with the Government of Malawi to promote e-governance in such areas as digitised prison records and case management systems.
Also the flagship programme Chilungamo includes an important initiative on digitalisation of the national registration and identification system. Under this initiative, implemented by UNDP, the necessary systems, infrastructure and equipment are designed and established for the National Registration and Identity system, employing biometrically secure Smart cards. It also provides an interface to other public and private sector systems that allow for appropriate data sharing within a legal framework that complies with international principles and standards for the Right to Privacy and Data Protection.
Human rights, democracy, rule of law
A partnership focusing on fighting corruption, building up accountability institutions and access to justice for all
In line with the EU Human Rights and Democracy Strategy, the EU in Malawi continues its support to Malawi for it to achieve continuous improvements in the areas of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. This implies strengthening the quality of electoral processes, including for the delivery of inclusive, transparent and well-managed elections in 2025, and to address challenges related to human rights violations, gender inequality and gender-based violence, violence against children and limited access to justice for the marginalised groups.
To that end, there is need for continuous support to strengthening institutional capacities of oversight institutions (e.g. Malawi Electoral Commission, Malawi Human Rights Commission, Office of the Ombudsman), of the judiciary and of law enforcement institutions. It also requires empowering citizens’ voice, in particular from civil society, communities’ structures, and the media, in order for them to provide reliable information, keep oversight of the public sector’s action and engage in advocacy. This includes improving the access to information, to ensure that necessary checks and balances in the democratic system can function effectively.