Malawi, the US African Development Foundation (USADF) has launched a five-year
project worth US $7.5 million. It's an agency of the US government dedicated to
expanding economic opportunity in Africa. It says the project goal is to reduce
poverty in rural communities at the grassroots level in Africa.
launch of the program follows a bi-lateral agreement and a memorandum of
understanding the foundation signed with the Malawi government last year. The
USADF and the government announced their intentions to fund economic
US Embassy's deputy chief of mission in Malawi, Kevin Sullivan explains why.
think that African Development Foundation has a lot of experience throughout
the continent in working with organizations that have special needs -- special
content -- to help overcome the challenges, and we are hoping that they bring
the expertise and partner with promising Malawian organizations like this one,"
USADF says the program will focus on certain marginalized populations
and underserved communities. It will help fund economic development activities
that will help create jobs, generate income, reduce poverty and increase social
Cassava leads the way
first beneficiary of the grant is a farmers group in the southern district of
Zomba called "Chinangwa, Mbatata, Roots, and Tubers Enterprises". It has
received a grant of $95,000. The statement says the grant will be spread over
18 months in an effort to increase membership, diversify cassava products and
improve the quality of cassava-based products.
funding will also help establish a central office, hire staff, develop
financial and business systems and buy planting materials and processing equipment.
group has 2,000 members; 80% of them are women. It grows and processes cassava
to create income, which hopefully will reduce poverty and increase the standard
of living for members.
feel that there is a lot more that can be done to small and medium size
enterprises, including community activities like the Chinangwa group, to become
(an) engine for growth to the economy" Sullivan says. "They have already shown
that they have the capacity to develop product, expand production, and we hope
that with this grant we will be able to take them to next level."
Women in demand
USADF says it will work closely with a group of Malawi's businesswomen -- the
National Association of Business Women, the NABW.
executive director of the NABW, Mary Malunga says,"The role of NABW in this
particular program will be to identify possible beneficiaries for the programs
since we have adequate experience in business development so we have been
selected so that we assist them identifying, training and monitoring the groups
that will benefit from the program."
US African Development Foundation currently operates in 20 African nations.
Over the past 25 years, USADF has funded nearly 1,500 projects and has spent
$150 million in support of African enterprises and local African communities.