The World Bank and the Malawi Ministry of Finance have signed an agreement under the Shire River Basin Management Program for 125 million USD. This agreement is part of Malawi’s long term plans to have safe environmental and economic growth on the Shire River Basin. The Shire River Basin Management Program is intended to last 15 years with a total budget of 400 million USD. This significant contribution from the World Bank will help further the program’s agenda to help 430,000 people in Malawi that rely on the Shire River.
The program is being led by the Ministry of Water Development and Irrigation, but will encompass many different government sectors. The main focus is to improve the sustainability of irrigation, hydropower, and flood mitigation projects on the Shire River. Since the Shire River is such an important part of the environment within Malawi the government has realized the need to protect it from degradation and pollution. The river serves as a source of electricity and drinking water for many nearby Malawians and with this project in place even more will have the proper access to these resources.
According to Ritchie Muheya, the Minister of Water Development and Irrigation, the initial phase of the program will be working towards an improvement in land and water resource management to aid those people that are located in the middle and lower shire. Muheya has also reported that between July 2011 and August 2012 a total of 1.5 million USD has been received as an advance to survey and assess the current situation on the Shire River Basin in preparation of the project.