Malawi records 58.8% living in extreme poverty, southern region worse off at 61.3%


LILONGWE – At least 58.8 percent of Malawians are yet to break multidimensional poverty chains with the rural population dominating the list, a second national Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) report has revealed.

The report, which is based on the findings from Integrated Household Survey (IHS) of 2019/2020 by National Statistical Office (NSO) with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), was launched Thursday in Lilongwe to aid development planning both at regional and national levels.

Malawi’s Zodiak Media reported that speaking during the launch, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Sosten Gengwe, said a lot needs to be done to improve the livelihoods of Malawians on top of monetary measures.

Gwengwe said: “The report has suggested a number of areas in education, work, environment as well as health which needs to be prioritised in order to rehabilitate and improve the livelihoods of Malawians instead of just focusing on monetary policies.”

According to the report, the Southern Region had the highest incidence of poverty at 61.3 percent while the Northern Region registered the lowest at 45.6 percent.

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The report also suggested that the current national poverty levels of 58.8 percent showed a slight improvement compared to the previous MPI report of 2015/2016 IHS which suggested national poverty levels at 61.7 percent.

With emphasis on the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Freddy and the Russia-Ukraine war on Malawi’s development, UNDP Resident Representative for Malawi Fenella Frost said the UN body and other development partners are still eager to support Malawi in pursuing the Sustainable Developmental Goals as encapsulated in the Malawi 2063.

“Besides other development partners, UNDP will always support Malawi to achieve its sustainable goals with regards to the impacts of Cyclone Freddy which has, by far, affected the economy,” she said.

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