LUANAR Hailed for Good Use of Norwegian Funds
On July 21st 2016, the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) facilitated an Annual Meeting between the Governments of Malawi and Norway. The Annual meeting is organized to take stock of overall progress of the Capacity Building for Managing Climate Change (CABMACC) and the Infrastructure Development Programme (IDP) that are coordinated by LUANAR with funding from the Royal Kingdom of Norway. In addition, the government and the university further developed strategies to address challenges faced by the programmes for smooth implementation.
In his remarks, the Norwegian ambassador to Malawi, Kikkan Haugen expressed his satisfaction in the implementation of both programmes by LUANAR and its partners. The ambassador commended the CABMACC programme for its efforts in countering the devastating effects of climate change. “Since my residency in Malawi, I have keenly kept track of the Programme. CABMACC is addressing one of the most challenging and relevant issues in Malawi, as it is very evident that the climate is changing and its effects have been devastating for Malawi.”
The Ambassador added that climate change has a direct impact on the livelihood of ordinary Malawians and the agriculture sector in general. “Unlike other technologically advanced countries, which can easily find solutions to mitigate against climate change, Malawi which is sorely dependent on rain fed agriculture is particularly faced with more challenging effect of climate change.” He continued. “CABMACC is therefore addressing these issues through capacity building, research, outreach and the promotion of agricultural innovations and technology which will make Malawi more resilient to the effects of climate change”. Said Mr Kikkan Haugen.
The ambassador applauded LANANAR’s management for its transparency and accountability in the utilization and management of funds allocated to both programmes. He noted that the financial reports that were presented by LUANAR were very pleasing and encouraging. ”As donors, we are always encouraged to see an accountable usage of funds and I am also pleased to see the progress made on the infrastructure under IDP, despite the delays in the completion of the 212 bed hostel for female students. The tour I took around the infrastructural development sites also bears a true reflection of what was reported during the meeting. I proudly commend LUANAR and its implementing partners on this”. Said Mr Kikkan Haugen.
LUANAR’s Vice Chancellor, Professor George Kanyama Phiri, admitted to the delays in the completion of the Hostel and the Teaching Complex B. He attributed these delays to the deficit changes that came about in the management of the implementation process from the use of contractors to use of private consultants to engagement of the Department of Buildings. Consequently, there arose some financing gaps that emanated from the currency loses between the United States dollar to the Norwegian Kroner (NOK) that was also accompanied by the weakness of the Malawian kwacha. “Because of these delays the meeting has agreed on a no-cost extension period for the remaining IDP components. However, the water supply project under IDP is completed and the volume of water supply has been increased from 450,000 cubic meters to 650,000 cubic meters.” Said Professor George Kanyama Phiri.
Professor George Kanyama Phiri, described CABMACC as a shining example of a well implemented programme, which he said is certain the objectives and goals of the programmes would be attained by 2018 when the programme comes to an end.
In his final remarks the Norwegian ambassador emphasized on the underutilization of the academia and research based knowledge in the development of the country’s polices and strategic plans. He therefore strongly urged LUANAR to assist the government in the advancement of the nation’s resilience plan through research. The ambassador guaranteed the continued support to LUANAR by his government.
Written By Christie Kang’ombe