The UK Parliament's International Development Committee took evidence on the 12th June from DFID and CDC (the Commonwealth Development Corporation), as part of the Committee's enquiry into DFID's Economic Development Strategy.
Watch the evidence session HERE.
Giving oral evidence from CDC was Graham Wrigley (Chairman) and Nick O'Donohoe (Chief Executive Officer). DFID was represented by Rt Hon Lord Bates (Minister for International Development), Rachel Turner (Director of Economic Development) and Melinda Bohannon (Head of Growth and Resilience Department).
Chris Law, MP for Dundee West, used the session to ask CDC:
"What are you doing to support a larger number of smaller investments; what progress is the Impact Accelerator having; and specifically what efforts are being made to increase investments in Malawi - which is precisely the sort of small, extremely poor country that has been traditionally lost".
In response Nick O'Donohue (CDC Chief Exec) said: "I'm glad you asked about Malawi, it was one of the first countries I visited as Chief Executive and one of the countries we feel best about for a number of reasons. First of all because the new Investment Strategy has allowed us to make investments in Malawi which is a difficult and challenging country. In the last two years we have invested I think about $50 million dollars in Malawi in a range of 5 or 6 different projects, four of them in the agriculture area. It is a good example of us executing the new strategy and taking the extra spectrum that we're given to take more risks, be more developmental and has allowed us to do a lot more in places like Malawi…It's one of the places we're proudest of in terms of the progress we have made in the last couple of years."
When asked by Paul Scully MP about how DFID and CDC would make small-holder farming more investable, DFID said: "…We have deepened our understanding through analysis we have done on particular products, particular value chains which stretch down to small-holders but also internationally, so it is a global value chain which we think is important and helpful to work on in the likes of Malawi for example…Our team are now looking at what the benefits of bringing small-holders into that value chain and how we would go about doing that. And we are continuing the conversation with CDC about how they can exploit the investment opportunities in Malawi. "
The Scotland Malawi Partnership is delighted to see this focus on Malawi from the Committee and CDC, and will continue to work closely with CDC to encourage further expansion of CDC's investment portfolio in Malawi, with strong public reporting on the human development impact of this work. We will keep members briefed on developments in this area.