Icelandic Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson this week visited Malawi; commemorating 25 years of development cooperation between the two nations.
During his visit, Gunnar Bragi met with his Malawian counterpart, as well as the country’s local government minister and the head of the finance ministry. Iceland’s 25 years of development aid and cooperation with Malawi were the main discussion topic, along with trying to establish goals for future development, geothermal development and human rights issues.
Gunnar Bragi visited Mangochi District, which is one of Malawi’s poorest areas and which Icelandic authorities have long supported with development projects.
While there, the Icelandic minister met with local leaders and visited the district hospital, school and a village which has recently received a piped water supply. A new maternity unit is being built in Mangochi, in cooperation between Iceland and the local authorities. It will serve an area with a million inhabitants which currently desperately needs facilities for the 60 births which take place every day at existing hospitals and clinics.
The work of the Icelandic Development Cooperation Fund in the district is concentrated on healthcare, education and water and sanitation matters.
Gunnar Bragi also met with representatives of other donor states, UNWomen, UNICEF, WFP and the IMF; and visited the Red Cross offices in Malawi, which has received funding from both the Icelandic Red Cross and the Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
This year, 26 percent of Iceland’s overseas development aid will go to Malawi, and the country also benefits from foreign ministry funds released through international agencies Iceland is a member of.