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The First Minister marks the tenth anniversary of formal Scotland Malawi cooperation
It's ten years since the historic 2005 Cooperation Agreement was signed at Bute House between the Governments of Scotland and Malawi. It outlines the key areas in which Scotland and Malawi will work together for the mutual benefit of the two countries, with a focus on sharing experiences and skills. It provides an opportunity for both countries to learn from each other. More than 300,000 Scots and two million Malawians benefit from this relationship each year, in areas including education, health, agriculture and renewable energy.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon hosted a Reception at Bute House today (Tuesday 3rd November) to mark the date of the historic anniversary. She took the opportunity to pay tribute to those who've worked tirelessly over the last decade to improve the lives of thousands of people.
Speaking after the event, Ms Sturgeon said:
"The links between Scotland and Malawi are more than 150 years old, going back to the time of Dr David Livingstone and early Scottish missionaries. Our modern day relationship remains based on those people to people links, with a key focus on partnership. Since the signing of the formal Cooperation Agreement, the Scottish Government has invested over £55 million in Malawi over the last decade.
"We've contributed to the quadrupling of the annual number of medical graduates in Malawi, from 16 to over 100 through the College of Medicine, Blantyre, and ensured that nearly 140, 000 children have been prioritised for emergency treatment through a meningitis triage programme. We've provided help for pupils with disabilities with vocational training to help them find jobs. We've also brought new energy access to almost 80,000 people in the most rural parts of Malawi, through a £2.3 million renewable energy project.
"The Scottish Government has also supported the Scotland Malawi Partnership (SMP) and its sister organisation the Malawi Scotland Partnership (MaSP), based in Malawi, for over a decade. Through the two networking organisations, 94, 000 Scots and 198,000 Malawians are now actively involved in the Scotland Malawi partnership which is a huge achievement.
"It was a pleasure to meet and chat to a host of people today, all of whom have played an important role in our work in Scotland and Malawi over the last decade. It is vital that our relationship with Malawi continues to go from strength to strength over the coming years, and we remain committed to that relationship."
Today's anniversary celebration forms part of a wider week of events to highlight ten years of international development work by the Scottish Government. In addition to the Malawi Development Programme, the priority focus is on Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
Humza Yousaf, Minister for Europe and International Development, who was in Malawi for the second time at the end of October, meeting with the President of Malawi and seeing first-hand Scottish Government funded projects, said:
"The Scottish Government's international development programme has grown since 2008. We now operate with a budget of £9 million per annum in 7 priority countries, Malawi, Zambia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the 3 poorest states in India.
"In addition to our work in Malawi, over the last three years, we've provided £670,000 to enable women and children in some of Pakistan's poorest provinces to access education. Through our partnership with the British Council, more than 170 women have been given the opportunity to study masters related courses in environment and education and we are sponsoring more than 1, 400 schoolchildren to continue their education.
"The international development programme continues to fund only through non-government organisations, with a strong emphasis on respectful partnership. I'm proud of our work so far and pay tribute to the people who've helped to turn around the lives of some of the most vulnerable in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia."
As part of International Development Week, a Cultural Day will be held in Edinburgh's Grassmarket on Saturday 7th November 2015, to celebrate the cultural and people to people links between Scotland and Sub-Saharan Africa/South Asia which underpin our international development work.
You can find out more about International Development Week via social media using the hash tag #scotID10