THE African Development Fund (ADF) and the government of Malawi have signed a grant agreement for $14.2 million to undertake infrastructure upgrades and create a more efficient and transparent digital payment system.
Funding for the Support for Digitalisation, Financial Inclusion and Competitiveness (DFIC) project, approved last December, will be sourced from ADF, the African Development Bank’s concessional financing window.
‘The DFIC project is aligned with the Malawi Digital Economy Strategy (2021-2026) and the Third National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (2022-2026); both contribute to achieving Malawi’s long-term objective of inclusive wealth creation supported by an inclusive financial system and digital economy,” said Sosten Alfred Gwengwe, Malawi’s Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs during a signing ceremony.
The project will widen financial inclusion in the country, in particular to women, youth and rural dwellers. It will also allow for efficient business transactions, offering small businesses the opportunity to gain access to new national and international markets.
The project is expected to boost Malawi’s domestic financial inclusion rate from 58 percent in 2019 to at least 65 percent in 2025. The GDP contribution of the ICT sector is expected to rise from 5.7 percent to 7 percent over the same period. Export volumes are expected rise to 35 percent of GDP from 31 percent, in line with the targets of the national export strategy. Currently, the total commitment in the African Development Bank’s active portfolio in Malawi stands at about $327 million.
Macmillan Anyanwu, The African Development Bank’s Country Manager for Malawi, said the signing of the DFIC project grant agreement today was an important step towards promoting the use of electronic transactions in Malawi to increase access and use of affordable financial services, particularly, amongst women, youth, and rural dwellers. ‘The project will also enable more efficient business transactions, offering small businesses the opportunity to gain access to new markets,’ he said.