WASHINGTON: The World Bank today approved $100 million in financing from the International Development Association (IDA)* for Malawi to support increased access, particularly for female students, to skills development programs in priority areas of the economy that are most relevant to the labor market— now and in the future.
The Skills for a Vibrant Economy (SAVE) Project is designed to provide skills development support through programs offered in selected tertiary education institutions spanning higher education and technical, entrepreneurial, and vocational education and training (TEVET), with special attention on demand-driven approaches to boost labor force skills, women’s empowerment, digital skills and technology, institutional strengthening and learning continuity.
“We are pleased to embark on the SAVE project, which will help us better prepare and support youth skills development in Malawi. Although access to tertiary education has been increasing in Malawi, enrolment rates remain low and compare unfavorably with regional and world averages. The SAVE project’s focus on increasing access to higher education and TEVET skills development programs will help us move quickly on ensuring that additional youth have the opportunity to achieve their potential and the skills necessary to meet the demands of the economy and the labour market in line with Malawi 2063,” said Hon. Agnes NyaLonje, Minister of Education.
The SAVE project will establish partnerships with relevant industries and private sector entities to supports skills development in priority areas, namely agriculture, education, energy, health, industry, and ICT as well as updating courses and training of lecturers, professors, and staff.
“By supporting industry and private sector engagement, the SAVE project will help ensure that as we focus on developing skills in priority areas of the economy, we align to labor market needs in order to better prepare our youth for the job market, and promote job creation, aligned to national development priorities,” said Hon. Vera Kantukule, Deputy Minister of Labor.
The project will support nine higher education institutions, seven national technical colleges, and about 30 skills development institutions. Over its lifetime, SAVE will benefit 45,000 university students and 65,000 technical and vocational students. The Project will prioritize access and reduce the constraints faced by female students in accessing tertiary education and help ensure a safe and conducive learning environment.
“The SAVE project is helping address women’s empowerment by helping ensure increased access and participation of female students in tertiary education, both at the university level and in technical and vocational training. Data show us that fewer females are enrolled in tertiary education programs in Malawi,and this discrepancy impacts women’s skills development and future opportunities, ultimately impacting the growth and development of the nation.” said Safaa El Tayeb El-Kogali, Education Practice Manager for Eastern and Southern Africa.
The project uses global lessons from World Bank skills development and training projects and builds on past World Bank support in Malawi. It also works to support institutions in supporting learning continuity and resilience as they implement institutional development plans.
“The WBG’s new 5-year Country Partnership Framework is focused on promoting private sector led job creation in line with the objectives of Malawi 2063. This new WBG investment will help Malawi’s youth prepare for the job market, while also helping MSMEs by raising the level of skills and entrepreneurship in the market,” said Hugh Riddell, World Bank Country Manager for Malawi.
The project supports the achievement of Malawi’s key strategic priorities in the education sector, as outlined in the National Education Sector Investment Plan, which aims to increase access and equity, improve quality and relevance, and address key challenges in terms of the governance and management in higher education and technical and vocational training.
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 76 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.6 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $21 billion over the last three years, with about 61 percent going to Africa.