Africa Updates: Malawi To Invest Nearly 4% of GDP on Restoring Forests

Malawi is a landlocked country in Southern Africa, with an economy driven predominantly by the agricultural sector that accounts for one-third of the GDP and nearly 80 percent of employment. To save its future it will invest 4% of its GDP to restore forests

The agrarian country in Africa, Malawi where more than 90% of its rapidly growing population depends on wood and forest products to cook and survive, is planning to take serious action to save its forest cover. Around 80% of Malawians rely on agriculture for which land is continuously cleared to grow crops.

The landlocked African nation government has decided to combat deforestation and invest in long term solution for natural resource management and announced a $7million program for forest restoration which is equivalent to nearly 4% of its government annual spending.

For an emerging economy of its size, the investment is huge and the funding will go to Malawi youth Forest Restoration Program to ensure a sustainable future for its people. Under the new initiative, the Department of Forestry will work with the Ministry of Labour, Youth and Manpower Development to set up youth groups across the country. The young people will receive a daily wage for planting trees and, later on, the program will introduce bonuses based on how many trees survive and how much forest management improves.

The plan is to restore its degraded land and also follows its commitment among other African countries for forest restoration through the AFR100 Initiative. Till date, 27 countries including Malawi have pledged to restore 111 million hectares (274 million acres) of degraded and deforested land all across Africa by 2030. Malawi, in the group, has committed to restore 4.5 million hectares (11 million acres) or one-third of its total land area. Last year it launched its first National Forest Landscape Restoration Strategy which provided clear targets and policy interventions to increase the forest cover of this African nation critical to achieving development goals.

The World Resources Institute and the USAID-PERFORM (Protecting Ecosystems and Restoring Forests in Malawi) project supported this effort. The new framework focuses on collecting household data to show whether restoration is achieving its intended goals. Practitioners leading restoration programs can use these data to learn from past successes or identify areas in need of additional support.

The framework measures whether the restoration programs are helping achieve the country’s seven national restoration goals. Examining the data highlights progress to understand the impact of restoration programs and to know where more investment is needed.

Bringing important insights like this to the front is helping a successful restoration in Malawi, allowing the government to achieve its national restoration goals.

This year, the Malawi Youth Forest Restoration Program plans to restore 125,000 hectares of land (more than 300,000 acres). The youth will plant fruit trees and bamboo and learn how to manage their local forests. And Malawi’s new framework to measure progress will support the government as it looks to increase these types of initiatives and reach its 4.5-million-hectare (11 million acre) restoration goal.

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