28 June 2024

Citizen's Budget 2024/2025

Frequent shocks, including the recent El Nino-induced drought are negatively impacting Malawi’s economic growth. Due to these weather-related shocks, the IMF has projected a GDP growth for Malawi of 2% for 2024, which is lower than the 3.2% initially projected by the Government of Malawi. Inflationary pressures remain high – while the Government projected an annual inflation rate of 27.1% for 2024, the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) has reported an overall inflation rate of 32.3% just for April 2024, an increase from the 31.8% recorded in March 2024.The 2024/25 National Budget is estimated at MK5,99 trillion, which represents an increase of 38.6% from the 2023/24 revised budget of MK4,32 trillion. This growth in expenditure is mainly due to the increase in statutory budget lines such as wages and salaries, debt interest payments and pension and gratuities. In addition, there has been a huge increase, by 70%, in commitments from development partners towards development projects.On the other hand, domestic revenues have grown by 40.6% from the 2023/24 revised projection of MK2.5 trillion to an estimated MK3.4 trillion in 2024/25. With a projected expenditure of MK5.9 trillion, a deficit of MK1.4 trillion (6.9% of GDP) is projected for 2024/25. A large portion of this deficit (90%) is expected to be financed through domestic borrowing.The consistently high budget deficits over the past 5 years have significantly increased debt servicing costs – which have grown by 56.3% in 2024/25 and accounts for up to 43% of domestic revenues and 24.3% of total government expenditure (TGE) and ahead of allocations to all key social and economic sectors.The combined allocations to key social sectors benefiting children have slightly increased from 29.3% in 2023/24 to 31.1% of TGE in 2024/25 – education (14.8%), health (9.2%), social protection (3.7%) and WASH (3.4%).Against this background UNICEF encourages the Government to continue prioritizing social spending, including for key social protection programs to help cushion the vulnerable considering the frequent shocks and rising inflation. 
24 June 2024

Child survival and development brief

According to the 2018 population census-based projections by Malawi National Statistical Office, Malawi had 9.5 million children aged 0–17 years – children made up about 48 per cent of the total population in 20231 – and 60.5 per cent of them are multidimensionally poor.2 Poverty is higher in rural areas (70 per cent) than in urban areas (25.7 per cent).3 Children are also at high risk for the impacts of climate change. According to the Children’s Climate Risk Index,4 Malawi is among the top 40 countries for high climate risk for children and vulnerable communities. The under-five birth registration rate is 67 per cent, and only 22 per cent of under-five children have a birth registration certificate.5 It is estimated that over seven million children under 16 are not registered at birth. Malnutrition is a persistent public health issue in Malawi, with 35.5 per cent of children under the age of 5 years experiencing stunting, 12.8 per cent of children underweight, and 3.0 per cent suffering from severe acute malnutrition (wasting).6 An estimated 57,000 children aged 0–14 years in Malawi are living with HIV, of which 29 per cent are untested; therefore, they do not know their HIV status and are not being treated with life-saving antiretroviral medicines.7 Around 80,000 children under the age of five years are not immunized against polio and other vaccine-preventable diseases.8 Both social services and social protection coverage have been unable to alleviate the vulnerabilities of children living in poverty. Inequities in access to social services have further excluded the most marginalized children, including those with disabilities and albinism, as well as children living in areas prone to climate-related shocks. Malawi is amid an economic decline, making it challenging to fund national priorities and provide adequate services for children. Public spending on sectors benefiting children is estimated to drop to 28 per cent of the total national budget in 2023–2024, the lowest level in five years.