African Development Bank calls for urgent global response as second cyclone hits Southern Africa

The African Development Bank has called for urgent global action in the wake of a second cyclone to hit the southern Africa coastal region in six weeks.  According to Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina, “we must have concerted international cooperation to establish management systems and responses to combat natural disaster.”

Cyclone Kenneth is also the most extreme tropical tornado to hit Mozambique in the last 60 years, according to official records.

“Timely intervention of national, regional and international actors and stakeholders are crucial when disaster strikes. Increasingly, Africa’s ecological challenges will only be successfully tackled through the harmony of efforts and activities of continental and global institutions,” Adesina urged on Monday from the Bank’s Abidjan headquarters. 

Cyclone Kenneth ripped through Comoros and Mozambique last week and is likely to cause extreme flooding in areas where more than 70,000 people live, according to the country’s National Directorate for the Management of Water Resources.

On March 15, cyclone Idai began pounding Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe and impacted the livelihoods of more than 3 million people. The official death toll now stands at 1,007, with 602 killed in Mozambique, 344 in Zimbabwe, 60 in Malawi and one in Madagascar, according to relief agencies.

Infrastructural damage from Idai across Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe is estimated to be at least $1 billion.

“We are on the brink of an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. We need to brace up for post-cyclone flooding, landslides and disease outbreaks,” Adesina warned.

A high-level Bank delegation, led by Mateus Magala, Vice President for Corporate Services and Human Resources, has begun visiting the affected areas.

Speaking from Maputo, Mozambique’s capital, Magala said, “What we saw on the ground in Mozambique after Idai, and in camps housing internally displaced persons in the south of Malawi, shows that we need to focus on restoring the dignity of citizens and the economic stability of communities when disaster strikes.”

Other members of the Bank delegation include Patrick Zimpita, Executive Director for Malawi, Zambia, and Mauritius; Heinrich Gaomab II, Executive Director for Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe; and Kapil Kapoor, Director General, Southern Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office.

The Bank delegation is expected in Harare this week to meet with donor agencies and officials of the Government of Zimbabwe. They will also tour Chimanimani, Chipinge and Mutare districts in Manicaland Province which were most affected by cyclone Idai.

AfDB boosts cyclone response with emergency relief package and measures to combat climate change

Malawi’s recovery and reconstruction plans in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai has received a boost from the African Development Bank (, which is supporting the country with an emergency relief package and measures to combat the effect of climate change in the Southern African region.

Cyclone Idai in Southern Africa. An aerial view of Mozambique’s Sofala province shows standing water. Photo credit World Vision

Mateus Magala, the Bank’s Vice President for Corporate Services and Human Resources, led a delegation to Lilongwe this week, to discuss the institution’s intervention plans with public and civil society officials in Malawi.

Magala had meetings with government officials in Lilongwe, including Hon. Goodall E. Gondwe, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development; Hon. Nicholas Dausi, Minister of Homeland Security; and Dr. Dalitso Kabambe, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Malawi.

Magala conveyed Bank President Akinwumi Adesina’s sympathies to Malawian President Peter Mutharika and the people of Malawi.

“We have come to express our support to Malawi and to partner with the Government of Malawi in its ongoing efforts to provide immediate relief and reconstruction in affected sections of the country,” he said.

Magala informed officials that the development finance institution had set up an Emergency Recovery Fund, which will disburse US$100 million to jumpstart reconstruction efforts in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The Bank is also planning to redirect funding, totaling $1.4 million, to the immediate relief effort, reallocated from savings and extensions of ongoing Bank projects in Malawi’s water, roads and agriculture sectors.  

Responding to Magala, a visibly elated Gondwe said, “The African Development Bank couldn’t have come at a better time, to join us in our efforts which are now focused mainly on providing humanitarian relief and reconstruction…We were looking forward to bumper harvests in Malawi this year, but we have lost our entire crop to the cyclone.”

The Bank has already availed $250,0000 to Malawi, from its Emergency Relief Fund, for the purchase of emergency food items to avert hunger following the loss of crops damaged by the severe floods. Gondwe acknowledged receipt of this fund during his meeting with the Bank delegation.

The Bank’s Climate Fund will also release $150,000.00 to Malawi to enable authorities to assist communities and internally displaced persons impacted by the cyclone. The Bank’s long-term plans include designing and developing mechanisms for climate insurance and mitigating climate change.

Close to sixty people have died, and about 1 million persons across 15 districts have been displaced by the severe floods, mostly in the south of the country, where entire villages were submerged in water. Private sector activities and operators in the land-locked nation of about 18 million people were also severely impaired by the cyclone.

“Now is the time to talk about long-term and permanent solutions to the problems of floods in Malawi. We need to build houses and new structures but, above all, we ought to take advantage of this calamity to accelerate our irrigation development systems,” Gondwe remarked.

The Bank delegation also discussed the need for long-term cooperation on economic development and resilience strategies with donors and development partners in Malawi, including the World Bank, World Food Program Malawi, and top diplomats representing the American, Chinese, Egyptian, German, Japanese, Nigerian, Norwegian and Zimbabwean governments in Malawi.

Cyclone Idai hit Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe in mid-March 2019. Hardest hit was Mozambique, where the cyclone killed about 600 people. More than 1,600 people were injured, according to the UNHCR, the UN refugee agency. Malawi’s Homeland Security Minister Dausi estimates that about $365 million will be needed immediately for the reconstruction of bridges, schools, hospitals and homes.

The Bank’s delegation also included Patrick Zimpita, Executive Director for Malawi, Zambia and Mauritius; Heinrich Gaomab II, Executive Director for Angola, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe; Kapil Kapoor, Director General, Southern Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office; and Eyerusalem Fasika, Officer-In-Charge of the Bank’s Malawi Country Office. 

Malawi Launches world’s first malaria vaccine

The Government of Malawi has launched the world’s first malaria vaccine in a landmark pilot programme aimed at combating one of the world’s leading killers.

Malaria remains one of the world’s leading killers, claiming the life of one child every two minutes.

The landmark programme on Tuesday made the country the first of three in Africa in which the vaccine, known as RTS,S, will be made available to children up to 2 years of age; Ghana and Kenya will introduce the vaccine in the coming weeks.

Financing for the pilot programme has been mobilized through an unprecedented collaboration among three key global health funding bodies: Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; and Unitaid. Additionally, WHO, PATH and GSK are providing in-kind contributions.

Malaria remains one of the world’s leading killers, claiming the life of one child every two minutes. Most of these deaths are in Africa, where more than 250 000 children die from the disease every year. Children under 5 are at greatest risk of its life-threatening complications. Worldwide, malaria kills 435 000 people a year, most of them children.

Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi said Malaria is still one of the biggest killers of children worldwide, taking the lives of over 200,000 children every year. “These pilots will be crucial to determine the part this vaccine could play in reducing the burden this disease continues to place on the world’s poorest countries”.

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the malaria vaccine has the potential to save tens of thousands of children’s lives, adding “We have seen tremendous gains from bed nets and other measures to control malaria in the last 15 years, but progress has stalled and even reversed in some areas. We need new solutions to get the malaria response back on track, and this vaccine gives us a promising tool to get there”.

Thirty years in the making, RTS,S is the first, and to date the only, vaccine that has demonstrated it can significantly reduce malaria in children. In clinical trials, the vaccine was found to prevent approximately 4 in 10 malaria cases, including 3 in 10 cases of life-threatening severe malaria

“Malaria is a constant threat in the African communities where this vaccine will be given. The poorest children suffer the most and are at highest risk of death,” saidDr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “We know the power of vaccines to prevent killer diseases and reach children, including those who may not have immediate access to the doctors, nurses and health facilities they need to save them when severe illness comes.”

“This is a day to celebrate as we begin to learn more about what this tool can do to change the trajectory of malaria through childhood vaccination,” she added.

The pilot programme is designed to generate evidence and experience to inform WHO policy recommendations on the broader use of the RTS,S malaria vaccine. It will look at reductions in child deaths; vaccine uptake, including whether parents bring their children on time for the four required doses; and vaccine safety in the context of routine use.

The vaccine is a complementary malaria control tool – to be added to the core package of WHO-recommended measures for malaria prevention, including the routine use of insecticide-treated bed nets, indoor spraying with insecticides, and the timely use of malaria testing and treatment.

African Development Bank approves Malawi Country Strategy Paper 2018 – 2022

The African Development Bank has approved its Country Strategy Paper for Malawi for 2018-2022 as part of ongoing efforts to boost economic diversification, reduce dependency on rain-fed agriculture and build resilience for growth in the southern African nation.

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The Country Strategy Paper will intended to reduce dependency on rain-fed agriculture

The Country Strategy Paper will guide the African Development Bank’s operations in Malawi with regards to its financial, technical and knowledge assistance to the country. It will seek to ameliorate Malawi’s low levels of industrialization, infrastructure gaps in energy, lack of diversification, limited sources of export revenue and low financial intermediation. The new five-year plan builds on the Bank’s previous Malawi Country Strategy Paper 2013 – 2017 and will advance corporate strategies and the country’s most pressing development needs detailed in Malawi’s Growth and Development Strategy III.

The strategic blueprint is articulated around two main strategic pillars focused on further development of the country’s energy, transport, agriculture and water sectors. The first pillar proposes investments in infrastructure development, while the second seeks to advance investments in economic transformation projects and programs. Through these pillars, the Bank will aim to strengthen the foundations for private sector development by unlocking private and public investment, promote diversification, build economic resilience to reduce poverty and address rising income inequalities across gender.

Subdued agricultural output and increased maize import caused by two consecutive years of drought was responsible for the 2016 slump in economic growth to 2.7 percent. Malawi’s economic growth however rebounded to 5.1 percent in 2017 owing to a recovery in agricultural production. The Bank’s interventions will thus build on ongoing positive developments in the domestic environment, driving economic transformation and small industry to support diversification and (decent and formal) job creation.

Designed to reduce fragility and address issues of economic, social and climate resilience, the new Country Strategy Paper gives greater attention to the specific challenges Malawi is facing as a small landlocked country, with a growing population that currently doubles every 22 years. The Bank’s plans will also support key water basins such as Songwe River and Lake Malawi.

The Country Strategy Paper was developed through consultations with the Government of Malawi, the private sector, civil society and other development partners. Based on these successful engagements, the Government has expressed greater Bank participation in its knowledge-management, transportation, macro-economic and policy reforms agenda. The impact of two upcoming events on the country’s macro-economic outlook – the 2018 Population and Housing Census and 2019 Presidential and Parliamentary elections – have also been factored into the design of the country strategy

The Malawi Country Strategy Paper 2018-2022 aligns with the Bank’s Human Capital, Agricultural Transformation in Africa, Industrialization for Africa and Jobs for Youth in Africa strategies. It also operationalizes the Bank’s High 5 priorities.

As at October 2018, the Bank’s active portfolio in Malawi covered 15 operations totaling slightly over US$308 million.

African Development Bank establishes Tonia Kandiero Prize for Excellence in Leadership

The African Development Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina, has instituted a special prize for excellence in leadership in memory of Tonia Kandiero, late Director General of the Bank’s Southern Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office (d. June 28, 2017).


Tonia Kandiero

On the first anniversary of Tonia’s death, Bank’s President Akinwumi Adesina said, “The Tonia Kandiero Prize is expected to strengthen a culture of professionalism, innovation, and administrative and management excellence, all of which Dr. Kandiero exemplified. The Prize for Excellence in Leadership will provide an opportunity to acknowledge, encourage, and nurture leadership talent at all levels in the Bank.”

Adesina described Tonia Kandiero as a true leader and a rare role model who embodied an exceptional standard of excellence. He recalled her strategic vision and passion for the Bank’s mission, stressing that those who worked with her still remember her dedication and quiet effectiveness. The prize will identify and honor Bank staff who follow in her footsteps by bringing innovative ideas to the table, challenging the status quo when necessary, and inspiring others to do the same.

Tonia Kandiero was born in Malawi, and worked across Southern Africa in government, academia, and international financial institutions. Prior to her appointment as Director General of the Southern African Region, she served as the Bank’s Resident Representative for Tanzania, and was responsible for managing one of the largest African Development Fund beneficiary’s portfolios of US $2 billion. Kandiero enhanced dialogue with partners, donor coordination, and the Bank’s profile in Tanzania.

An academic and researcher by training, Kandiero joined the Bank in 2007 as a Senior Research Economist. From 2007 to 2009, she served as Principal Research Economist in the office of the Chief Economist of the Bank. From 2009-2011, she worked as Lead Macroeconomist, with a focus on supporting the development and implementation of the Bank’s first regional integration strategy paper and macroeconomic and sector work in trade and regional integration.

Before joining the Bank, she worked at South Africa’s National Treasury as Director for Trade and Macroeconomic Policy and then as the Director for Global Development Policy and International Economics. At South Africa’s Treasury Department, she analyzed national, regional, and multilateral trade issues and managed South Africa’s relationships with International Financial Institutions.

Kandiero earned her Bachelor’s degree in 1993 in business administration from Morehead State University, Kentucky, USA and a Master’s degree (1997) and Ph.D. (2001) in economics from Howard University, Washington DC, USA.

Nominations for the Prize require that Bank staff demonstrate innovative, risk-taking and, above all, superior records of achievements and dedication to the vitality of the Bank community and clients. The committee also looks for outstanding creativity in the face of difficult challenges and complex development issues, and the prioritization of learning as an integral part of the Bank’s assistance to regional member countries, including knowledge gained to improve business results.

The prize winner must demonstrate an effective team spirit and records of excellent working relationships with colleagues to achieve results, establish effective partnerships across multiple levels, and generously share knowledge and information that help achieve the High 5 development agenda.