In an address to the Scottish Parliament, Jenny Gilruth, the Minister for Culture, Europe and International Development, announced an additional £1.5million to support the response to COVID-19 in Scotland’s partner countries Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia.
This additional funding means that a total of £5million has been invested by the Scottish Government into projects including PPE distribution, vaccine rollout, online learning, healthcare services, and research in partner countries around the world.
On this new additional funding, the Minister said:
“I confirm to the Parliament that, this financial year, I am committing a further £1.5 million to be used specifically to target initiatives responding to Covid-19 in Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia. Our Covid investments, totalling £5 million to date, have also leveraged additional support worth at least £13 million, meaning that, by the end of this year, the Scottish Government’s contribution to overseas support specifically to tackle Covid-19 will be worth in excess of £18 million. I am very proud that we have made the political choice to do that.
COP26 remains fresh in our minds, as does the need for international solidarity. When I asked Malawi’s Minister of Foreign Affairs how the Scottish Government can support Malawi in its recovery, he told me that we must ensure that we build back stronger in a way that is sustainable. When I reflect on what has been achieved in this past month, it clear that internationalism has never been more important. The world united at COP26; now we must unite in a truly global response to Covid-19.”
Another key element of this address was the reaffirmation of a commitment to lifting voices from Scotland’s partner countries:
“Listening to the voices of the people who live in our partner countries was vital to ensuring that we got our Covid response right. One of the key drivers of last year’s review was the need to hear directly from those who live in our partner countries. The review therefore committed to establishing a global south panel, which will directly advise and challenge Government on our international development offer.”
The Minister announced the names of the first two members of this panel; UN Women Malawi’s country director, Clara Anyangwe, and Professor Emmanuel Makasa of the University of Zambia. The creation of this panel is crucial to ensure that Scotland’s international development efforts are led by those living in our partner countries, and does not rely upon outdated colonial formats that rid local communities of agency and leadership.
You can read the full transcript of the Minister’s speech here.