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The political economy of resilience and adaptation in Malawi

Resource type
Learning paper

This paper presents a political economy analysis of the resilience and adaptation to climate change in Malawi to inform the work of BRACC. It situates the political economy analysis of resilience and adaptation to climate change within the context of the country’s broader political economy.

Malawi landscape
Malawi landscape (courtesy of BRACC hub)


Malawi's political economy has been influenced greatly and shaped by the politics of transition to democracy, and the reorientation of the elites from agriculture to commerce as a principal means of accumulation. These drivers of the general political economy context have created a policy milieu characterised by affinity towards the provision of private rather than public goods, the dominance of the culture of rent seeking, and weak policy implementation and commitment to reforms. The specific implementation challenges that have influenced and shaped the political economy of the resilience and adaptation to climate change include: political and bureaucratic leadership, financial resources constraints, coordination challenges, and stalled decentralisation policy reforms.

Beyond BRACC’s programmatic and knowledge-building efforts across various thematic areas, the paper aims to inform a wide audience of policymakers, development practitioners, civil society organisations, think tanks and researchers.