History + Context

History and Context

Located in Southern Africa, Malawi is a landlocked country, sharing its borders with Mozambique, Zambia and Tanzania. The country has an estimated population of 19.6 million (World Bank, 2021), which is expected to double by 2038. Malawi remains one of the poorest countries in the world despite making significant economic and structural reforms to sustain economic growth. Around 13.7 million people (70.3% of the population) live below the international poverty line of $1.90 per day.

The economy is heavily dependent on agriculture, with nearly 80% of the population subsistence farmers, and is vulnerable to external shocks, particularly climatic shocks. Additionally, the high levels of poverty impact nutrition indicators, with 40.9% of children affected by stunting and 4% of children under 5 suffering from acute malnutrition. Successive Governments of Malawi have focused on poverty reduction by enhancing social protection.

This is reflected in scoping studies in the early 2000s: the Malawi Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (MPRSP 2002 – 2005), the elaboration of the National Social Protection Policy (NSPP) in 2008, as well as in the implementation of the Malawi National Social Support Programme I and II in 2012 and 2018 respectively. 

While the MNSSPI (2012-2016) focused on provision of welfare support and asset protection, the successor MNSSPII (2018 – 2023) has consumption support, resilient livelihoods and shock-sensitive social protection as the main pillars for delivering social protection services. This policy framework has enabled a number of social protection programs including the Public Works, School Meals, the Social Cash Transfer Program (SCTP), among others, which today constitute the infrastructure for delivering social protection services in Malawi.

Key SCTP Dates