Policy Briefs

  • Demographic dividend or threat? Turning Malawi’s youthful population into an asset for socio-economic transformation December, 2015

    About 80 percent of Malawi’s population of 17.2 million are aged below 35 years and 46 percent are below 15 years. Malawi’s Government needs to make strategic investments in the youth as they can be critical agents for positive socioeconomic change if they are empowered to innovate and engage in economic productivity. On the other hand, the price of inaction is high; uneducated, unskilled, unemployed, and disillusioned youth can be agents of social unrest, crime, and violent extremism.

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  • Ending Child Marriage in Malawi: What the Evidence Tells Us October, 2017

    Malawi has made tremendous progress in recent years toward the goal of ending child marriage. In 2015, Malawi adopted the Marriage, Divorce, and Family Relations Act, which set 18 as the legal minimum age for marriage, and in February 2017, a legal loophole allowing children between the ages of 15 and 18 to marry with parental consent was closed with an amendment to the Constitution.

    Despite this recent progress, child marriage (marriage to a person less than 18 years old) remains a key development challenge in Malawi. Malawi has the 11th highest rate of child marriage in the world, and the 9th highest rate in Africa.2 In Malawi, 47 percent of women marry before the age of 18, and 12 percent before the age of 15.3 Typically, the age at first birth is about one year after marriage. As a consequence, Malawi’s teenage pregnancy rate is very high – 29 percent of girls aged 15-19 have begun childbearing.

    This brief provides an overview of the evidence on child marriage in Malawi, and makes recommendations for policy and practice based on a synthesis of research.

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  • Creating Sustainable Financing for the Malawi Health Research System February, 2017

    This policy brief presents the challenges facing the sustainable financing of Malawi’s national health research system, the commitments already made to improve the country’s health research as well as individualized case studies of countries Malawi could benchmark its own research funding mechanism. Finally, this policy brief also recommends specific reforms the respective Ministries and National agencies should implement to support research generation and utilization for decision-making.

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  • Improving the Health Status of Malawi’s Workforce for Socio-economic Transformation September, 2016

    A healthy workforce is critical to support Malawi to harness the demographic dividend and transform into a globally competitive, technologically-driven middle-income country.

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  • Good Governance and Accountability to Harness the Demographic Dividend in Malawi September, 2016

    Good governance and accountability are essential for sustainable and inclusive economic growth. They ensure equitable allocation and distribution of public resources and the efficient delivery of public services, which among other things creates a conducive environment for private sector investment and growth.

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  • Accelerating fertility decline to open the window of opportunity for harnessing the demographic dividend in Malawi September, 2016

    Malawi’s fertility rate has declined slowly in the context of a steady decline in child mortality over the past three decades. The average number of births per woman has declined from 7.6 in 1984 to 5.0 in 2014, while the number of deaths among children aged less than five years declined from 250 per 1000 births in 1984 to 85 in 2014.

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