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The Rural Development is at the centre of poverty reduction in rural areas. According to recent studies, the integrated rural development (IRD) has proven to have potential to generate economic gains which can lead to improvements in rural livelihoods in both medium and long term.

The GoM is therefore committed to improve the livelihoods of rural people in the country through the continued implementation of the Integrated Rural Development Strategy (IRDS) and the institutionalization of the Sector Working Group (SWG) for IRD and Decentralization as a coordinating mechanism.

Core Functions

The Directorate of Rural Development is mandated to:

  • To coordinate rural development interventions in the country;
  • To provide policy direction on rural development interventions; and
  • To facilitate the provision of social-economic infrastructure in the district councils.


 Game Changer activities:

  • Enhance coordination of utilization of development funds in the local authorities;
  • Develop a reliable reporting system for development interventions;
  • Accelerate completion of quality development projects in the councils; and
  • Revamp Local Economic Development (LED) initiatives in the councils in order to spur local economic activities and growth.

Major Achievements of the Directorate

Construction of Rural Growth Centres

The RGC has proven to have potential to generate economic gains which can lead to improvements in rural livelihoods in both medium and long term.

Under this Program, the Government has completed construction of the basic social infrastructure in five (5) of the RGCs at Neno, Jenda in Mzimba, Malomo in Ntchisi, Monkey Bay in Mangochi and Nthalire in Chitipa, and the facilities are currently in use.

The second phase of the RGCs, the Government embarked on construction works at Chitekesa in Phalombe, Nambuma in Dowa, Chapananga in Chikhwawa and Mkanda in Mchinji districts and works are at various stages of completion i.e. Chitekesa (90%), Nambuma (95) %, Chapananga (98%) and Mkanda (98) completion rate.

The MLGRD has continued to construct selected socio-economic infrastructures in designated RGCs, that are contributing to reducing rural-urban migration through socio-economic development in rural settings. In this vein the GoM is expected to embark on Phase 2 of Mkanda and Chapananga and finalize remaining Phase II works at Nambuma, contractor already recruited.

Construction of Rural and Urban Markets

Government completed the construction of a total of 13 modern market investments and these include the following: Mmbelwa (Ekwendeni and Enukwenu), Zomba (Matawale and Sadzi); Kasungu (Nkhamenya), Mulanje (Limbuli), Nkhotakota (Dwangwa), Balaka (Ulongwe, Phalula, and Mthandinzi), Blantyre (Lunzu), Chiradzulu (Mbulumbuzi) and Nkhata Bay (main market and Usisya).

Overall, during the 2019/20 FY, five markets were constructed namely: Mulanje district (Mulanje Mission Market, Chinakanaka Market, Nsika wa Njala Market  and Nsanje (Nsanje Boma and Tengani). Currently, constructions of works are over 95% in progress at Nsanje, Tengani, Chinakanaka and Mulanje Mission markets respectively.

The GoM has also just commenced the construction rural, markets during the 2019/2020 FY at Kapiri (Mchinji), Namitambo (Chiradzulu), Songani (Zomba) and Mphanje (Thyolo).

The GoM is committed to ensure that modern markets have been constructed in all parts of the country, where there is need. In this regard, the GoM has planned to complete Kapiri, Namitambo, Songani and Mphanje and embark on new ones at Katuli (Mangochi), Muwa (Zomba), Ntcheu Boma, Uliwa (Karonga), and Makwasa (Thyolo).

Construction of District Commissioners and Civic Offices

Conducive working environment still remains a challenge in most of the local authorities. This is compounded by the fact that some local authorities are still using Office buildings which are in dilapidated condition and were constructed during the colonial era like Thyolo, M’mbelwa, Ntcheu just mention a few.

Government has embarked on Construction of District Commissioner’s (DCs) and Civic Offices in some local authorities such as Machinga, Chiradzulu, Thyolo, M’mbelwa and Mzuzu. Meanwhile, the construction of Machinga (at Liwonde) and Chiradzulu DC’s Offices have been completed and handed over to the respective local authorities. The construction of the Thyolo and M’mbelwa DCs offices have commenced and works are at 5% and 15% respectively completion rates.

The GoM has embarked on the construction of District Commissioner’s (DCs) and Civic Offices in local authorities. However, there has been a  slow pace in the constructions of works. This is attributed  downward revision of the budget over the past two years. The construction of the Thyolo DC’s office has stagnated due to contractual issues; M’mbelwa is at 30% completion rates and Mzuzu Civic Office is at procurement stage.

In 2020/2021 FY the GoM plans to complete M’mbelwa DC Office, re-commence the construction with Thyolo DC Office, and commence Mzuzu Civic Office and Ntcheu DC Office.

Construction of Sports Stadia

The increase in demand for sports stadia (community grounds) in both rural and urban settings emphasizes the role of sports in socio-economic development of this country. The use of sports stadia for economic development and regeneration of income has gained increasing credibility in recent years, both academically and in terms of rural and urban development policy.

The GoM has completed construction and handed over four (4) sports stadia in Karonga, Kasungu, Rumphi, Mulanje and Mangochi and are in use. Other sports stadia are also being constructed in Ntcheu, Zomba, (renovation) Thyolo, Nkhotakota, Salima, and Ntchisi.

During the period under review four community grounds were being constructed. The beneficiary councils included Zomba, Thyolo, Ntcheu and Mzimba; with Ntcheu the Stadium being about 65 percent completion rate and scheduled to be completed end September, 202l.

During 2020/2021, the GoM plans to complete construction of these sport facilities (Ntcheu, Zomba, and M’mbelwa and Thyolo stadia).

Construction of Bus Deports

Good and adequate public transport facilities such as bus deports, good road network among others especially in productive rural areas is pre-requite for rural development and economic growth.

So far (3) bus deports at Ntcheu Boma, Nkhotakota Boma and Nkhata Bay Boma were constructed and handed over to the respective local authorities and currently are in use.

The Ministry will continue to construct modern bus deports in all the local authorities where there is a need like in Chitipa and other strategic trading centres across the country.

Construction of Rural Roads

Regarding construction rural roads, five rural roads were under construction. These projects are at different levels of completion. For example, three of the roads were completed (except construction of Namadzi, Natchefu, Mpatsa and Ngulura Bridges at Thyolo-Goliati-Mangunda Road, which are various stages of completion rate.) but other roads including Linengwe Bridge on Balaka-Bilira via Mkwisa Road stalled due to funding challenges.

The construction of Balaka - Bilila via Khwisa which is in two phases is progressing well. The first phase (Balaka – Khwisa, 13.1 Km) is completed (100%) and the second phase (Khwisa – Bilila, 10km) almost completed, works have been progressing well, the only outstanding work is the construction of Linengwe bridge which was missed out in the initial contract; Thyolo-Goliati- Mangunda Turn-Off Road (16.5 Km) the only outstanding work is the construction of Namadzi bridge, which was also missed in the initial phase.; and Mulanje-Selected roads works are at advanced stage of completion (Chinakanaka Turn Off to Nasomba CDSS (6.22 Km), Thunguzi to Sikoya Road (2.5 Km) and Nkhonya-Thabwa  Road (5.48 Km)

The Ministry will continue to construct improved rural road network especially in productive rural areas across the country where there is a need. Some of the roads that the Government is expected to construct soon are; Chiweta-Mlowe (11 km) which is awaiting on design review and access roads to all markets constructed under the Rural and Urban market development programme, such as Ekwendeni, Enukweni, Nkhamanya, Limbuli and Tengani Markets.

Public Works Programmes

The GoM through the Local Development Fund (LDF), which has merged with National Local Government Finance Committee (NLGFC) is implementing the Public Works Program (PWP), which has evolved from PWP to Productive (PWP), the largest PWP in the country.

The objective of the Program is to provide cash transfers to poor households, in part, to enable them purchase subsidized farm inputs and food during the lean period of the agricultural season thereby contributing to food security at household and community levels. The rationale is to emphasize on the need to create productive and sustainable assets for the communities.

The PPWP uses two implementation modalities namely: a regular cycle and an emergency cycle approach. The regular approach employs the Repeater Targeting and Catchment Management approaches and supports 451,000 ultra – poor households with labour capacity across Malawi. The latter supports 225,000 ultra-poor households across Malawi. Both modalities support the target beneficiaries with 24 days’ wages worth K14, 400 in three cycles – August/September; November/December and March/April.

This programme has registered a number of milestones as follows:

  • During the period under review, a total of over 985,635 households per annum, of which 53% are female, have been reached with cash transfer under the regular PPWP, with an additional 225,000 households per annum reached through emergency response PPWP thereby achieving the gender balance and contributing the MGDS III on Gender as a crosscutting issue;
  • A total of 13,564 community assets ranging from a forestation 4,510 projects (4,605 hectares); 5,989 roads (17,204km) constructed/maintained, and 773 (781 ha) small scale irrigation schemes; 957 Land conservation, with a few sub-projects under sanitation, and fisheries per season.
  • A total of 54% of PPWP beneficiaries have indicated improved food security, thus contributing to achievement of the Agriculture and Food Security Key Priority Area of the National Development Agenda.
  • A total of 97% of beneficiaries have used part of the wages to purchase food which is in line with MASAF IV Objectives.

The notion of increasing household level incomes and assets through savings and investment in livelihood opportunities through COMSIP groups needs to be underscored. The grants promote investments that increase incomes and assets of households, reduce risks of food and nutrition insecurity, and promote better nutrition and health. COMSIP has therefore achieved the following milestones:

  • The formation of 5,064 COMSIP groups with a membership of 128,947 of which 90,909 are female.
  • A total of 248 groups have been supported with grants to invest in piggery, bee – keeping, bakery, wine making and legume production;
  • The 5,064 COMSIP groups have mobilized savings of over K1.8 billion from 2014 ensuring financial inclusion of the rural poor;
  • A total of 98,974 beneficiaries have been trained in financial literacy and business management
  • A total of 11,701 beneficiaries have been trained in skills development in value chain enterprises including legume production, piggery and bee–keeping;
  • A total of 16,009 beneficiaries have been trained in Nutrition and health, and sanitation; and 4,248 beneficiaries have been trained in cooperative management

With regard to the National Social Cash Transfer Program, which has also evolved to Productive Social Cash Transfer, MASAF IV is contributing towards the scaling up of the Program in Dedza and Nkhata Bay and is targeting a total of 21,000 households. In Nkhata Bay, the program is targeting a total of 5,250 household’s while in Dedza it is targeting a total of 15,570 households.

Key Challenges under Rural Development

The MLGRD encountered the following challenges during the implementation of the activities planned over the years to date:

  • Outstanding certificates worthy over MK4.5 billion on already completed and on-going construction project works in the councils. The outstanding payment have significantly and negatively affected progress of all construction projects during the period under review;
  • Delays on contractor performance direction on the way forward regarding the freezing of accounts of contractors due to Cashgate have derailed the construction works at Nambuma, Chitekesa, Chapanaga and Mkanda RGCs; including delays in resolving legal issues with regard to Contractors who were involved in the cash gate scam;
  • Delays in the supply of electricity to the project facilities have been a major detriment to the beneficiaries to utilize the completed facilities;
  • Change in the design of infrastructure to accommodate emerging needs of additional facilities is not easy to achieve. This is a problem when it comes to construction of additional infrastructures at a particular centre and tends to delay execution of works by the contractors; and
  • There have been cost escalations for project construction materials, which exert pressure on the lower budget provision. This directly delays project implementation duration and leads to the long duration of project execution.

Planned Activities

During the 2019/2020 FY, the Ministry has planned to undertake the following activities:

  • Under the RGC Development Programme, continue construction of on-going RGCs (in Numbuma, Mkanda and Chapananga etc). The need to enter Phase 2 of the works at the three growth centres i.e. Mkanda, Chapananga and Chitekesa. The phase 2 works depending on the funding may include: construction of community grounds, community halls, community libraries, police units, health centres, rural road centre-line and material surveys, opening up of access rural roads. The Ministry is also intend to embark the new ones  new ones in Nyungwe in Karonga, Ntanja in Machinga, Champiti in Ntcheu, Mkando in Mulanje and Nkhamenya in Kasungu;
  • Under construction of rural and urban markets, the Ministry will embark on the construction of uncompleted markets; include: Nsanje Market, Nsika wanjala, Ntcheu market, Chitipa, Mulanje Boma, Mwanza Boma and Mzimba Markets.
  •  Under the rural and Boma roads, the Ministry has planned to commence the construction of the Linengwe bridge along Kwisa- Bilira road and Namadzi bridge along Thyolo-Goliati- Mangunda road and also plan to embark the construction of Chiweta-Mlowe Road
  • Facilitate construction of on-going rural roads i.e.  Balaka - Bilila via Khwisa Road (Phase two (2)), Thyolo-Goliati- Mangunda Turn-Off Road and Mulanje-Selected roads, and new ones i.e. Phalombe – Limbuli Road, Chileka-Mpata Manga in Blantyre, Ntaja-Nayuchi in Machinga, Mangochi Town Streets and other boma roads.
  • Facilitate construction of sports stadiums in Ntcheu and Thyolo (on-going) and new ones in M’mbelwa and Mwanza Districts;
  • Facilitate construction of DCs and Civic offices in Thyolo, M’mbelwa and Mzuzu, and new ones in Ntcheu, Chitipa, Mwanza and Ntchisi.
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