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MoS Costello TD begins visit to Malawi

Governance, News/feature, Malawi, 2012

Minister of State for Trade and Development, Joe Costello T.D., today begins a four-day visit to Malawi to see the impact of Ireland’s aid programme.

Minister Costello will meet communities benefitting from Irish Aid support to reduce hunger, tackle HIV and AIDS and improve agricultural productivity.  He will also host a regional consultation on the review of the White Paper on Irish Aid which will reflect the experience of partners in Africa. 

Speaking ahead of the visit, Minister Costello said:

“One in two people in Malawi lives below the poverty line, with most of the population relying on farming to make a living. The Irish Aid programme in Malawi is clearly focused on supporting small-holder farmers to improve yields and increase their incomes.

We are funding research to develop more nutritious and robust crops and ensuring these gains are sustainable by supporting training for farmers in scientifically-proven techniques. We are working to improve farmers’ access to quality seeds and fertilisers and to domestic and international markets.  Our ultimate aim is ensure that the most vulnerable families have access to nutritious food.”

Over the course of his visit, Minister Costello will meet senior Malawian politicians and representatives of missionary organisations and NGO partners, including Trócaire, Goal and Concern.

During his visit the Minister will also pay his condolences to the family of Rudo Mawere, the young Malawian student murdered in Dublin in January.  Minister Costello said:

“Rudo’s untimely and tragic death shocked and saddened us all, and I wanted to take time during my visit in Malawi to personally convey that sympathy and support to the Mawere family.”

27 February 2012

For further information or to request an interview with Minister Costello, please contact Fionnuala Quinlan, Press Officer, Irish Aid, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on 087-9099975.

Notes to the Editor:

·         Irish Aid is the Government’s programme for overseas development.  It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

·         Minister Costello will visit Malawi from February 27 until March 2.

·         In 2012, Ireland will provide €10.5 million in assistance to Malawi.  Malawi became a Programme Country in 2007 and is aimed at building on the results achieved in previous years on governance and food security.

·         The review of the 2006 White Paper on Irish Aid is being lead by the Minister of State for Trade and Development Joe Costello.  The review will look at the changing environment in which Ireland’s aid programme is being implemented and set the future direction for the aid programme.  Further information is available on our White Paper website page

·         The Irish Aid Expert Advisory Group (EAG) offer independent advice to the Minister throughout the duration of the White Paper. For further information about the EAP please visit our Advisory Group page.

·         Members of the Irish Aid Expert Advisory Group including Chairperson Nora Owen will also travel to Malawi this week to participate in the regional consultation meeting on the review of the White Paper.