Malawi Government grants AFIDEP diplomatic status
13 September 2021
Author: Victory Kamthunzi
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Eisenhower Nduwa Mkaka, and AFIDEP Head of Malawi office, Prof. Nyovani Madise, display signed Order of Recognition under the Immunities and Privileges Act

In its commitment to support regional development bodies and make Malawi a regional development hub, the Government of Malawi has granted the pan-African non-profit research and policy institute, the African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP) diplomatic status.  AFIDEP’s work focused on institutionalising a culture of routine evidence use in public policy formulation and implementation across Africa, and it has had a long-term partnership with various arms of the Malawi government.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Eisenhower Nduwa Mkaka, and AFIDEP Head of Malawi office, Prof. Nyovani Madise, signed the Order of Recognition under the Immunities and Privileges Act at a ceremony held at the Bingu Wa Mutharika International Convention Centre (BICC) on Monday, 13 September 2021.

Commenting on this milestone for the Institute, AFIDEP’s Executive Director, Dr. Eliya Msiyaphazi Zulu, who was in attendance virtually, was quoted saying, “we are very honoured to be granted this Order of Recognition by the Government of Malawi. AFIDEP has had an enduring relationship with Malawi, from supporting the Malawi government to advocate for the designation of harnessing the demographic dividend through investment in youth as the 2017 African Union top development theme to supporting Parliament in drafting autonomy bills. We have also worked closely with the ministries of Gender, Health, Education,  and Economic Planning on a wide range of issues, including ending child marriage, making family planning and other health services universally accessible, responses to COVID-19, basic education reforms, and cost-benefit analysis to determine interventions likely to maximize returns to investment towards the achievement of Vision 2063. We are grateful for this gesture by the government, and we look forward to intensifying our partnership with the government of Malawi and other development stakeholders”.

The recognition aligns with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ efforts to promote a supportive and enabling environment for international development partnerships and investment in Malawi as per Malawi’s Vision 2063. AFIDEP has supported the Malawian government’s efforts in policy formulation and evidence use for over 11 years. In a press briefing at the signing ceremony, Hon. Eisenhower Mkaka stated that “The Government of Malawi has granted AFIDEP diplomatic status to enable them to work in the country under special privileges. Their work centred on research, sharing information and evidence in different areas, helps provide support to the government in making evidence-based decisions. The government will benefit a lot from AFIDEP.”   Honourable Mkaka noted that his Ministry and the Government of Malawi are committed to proactively attract more international organizations of AFIDEP’s calibre to make Malawi a critical regional hub for intellectual discourses to find solutions to addressing Africa’s pervasive development challenges. The Minister also noted that “increasing the number of such international organizations will undoubtedly help create more quality jobs, increase foreign exchange earnings, expand the purchasing power in the country, increase the government’s access to and use of robust evidence and development technical assistance, and enhance the visibility of the country in the global development community”.

On her part, the Head of the Malawi office, Professor Madise, lauded the Government of Malawi for according AFIDEP this status and noted that: “the diplomatic status will go a long way in enabling AFIDEP to attract global and local development policy experts, which is vital for the Institute grow into a first-class policy and research thinktank set to make evidence count in transforming lives not only in Malawi but across Africa”.  Prof. Madise further noted that the government’s gesture represents a significant symbolic and direct financial contribution to research and evidence use for the country and the entire African Continent.

As a result of the Recognition Order, the AFIDEP Board of Directors have resolved to relocate the Institute’s headquarters from Nairobi, Kenya, to Lilongwe, Malawi. However, the Kenya office will continue to operate as the Institute’s regional hub for Eastern Africa.

Speaking on behalf of the AFIDEP Board and Chairperson,  Prof. Sosten Chiotha said  “With these remarks, ladies and gentlemen, I once again, thank the Government of Malawi for bestowing this recognition on AFIDEP, and I am confident that our partnership will continue to grow and that together we will inspire a culture of evidence use in policy formulation.”

Watch the signing ceremony here:

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