A woman in Malawi demonstrates how she uses irrigation techniques to water her crops
A woman in Malawi demonstrates how she uses irrigation techniques to water her crops
USAID/Helen Ho

Latest Southern Africa Fact Sheet

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Key Developments

USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance USAID/OFDA) is responding to a regional drought in Southern Africa, including in Angola, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe.

Above-average rainfall in Malawi, southern Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe since December has resulted in increased crop production in those areas, while below-average and erratic rainfall since December has resulted in poor crop prospects for northern Mozambique and western Angola, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Based on above-average rainfall levels, the USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network projects that food security conditions will improve across the region following the main April/May harvests. Populations in most of Southern Africa will likely experience Minimal—IPC 1—levels of food insecurity, while some households, particularly in Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe, may experience Stressed or Crisis levels from June through September.

Infestations of fall armyworm—an invasive insect species that causes significant damage to both staple and cash crops—have damaged or destroyed approximately 86,500 acres of crops, approximately 2 percent of crop acreage in Malawi, according to FEWS NET. In response, the Government of Malawi is conducting monitoring exercises, providing pesticides to the affected areas, and carrying out sensitization campaigns to inform farmers of the pest and effective mitigation efforts. Damage caused by fall armyworm is likely to be minimal due to timely control measures, according to FEWS NET.

With approximately $486,000 in previous year USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance funding, Concern Worldwide is providing early livelihoods recovery and resilience support to acutely drought-affected populations in southern Malawi’s Nsanje District. Between August and December 2016, the partner distributed agricultural inputs, such as cowpea and maize seeds, and provided training in conservation agriculture and rainwater harvesting techniques to approximately 2,000 beneficiaries. The NGO also installed approximately 800 handwashing stations across Nsanje during the same period to promote improved hygiene practices.

USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA)  is responding to a regional drought in Southern Africa. Please visit our webpage for additional information.


Malawi experiences a variety of natural disasters, including cyclones, cylical drought, earthquakes, flooding, and severe storms. In addition, vulnerable populations experience recurring food insecurity. USAID/OFDA’s strategy in Malawi includes responding to urgent humanitarian needs while also supporting disaster risk reduction (DRR) initiatives which strengthen the resilience of communities. USAID/OFDA DRR programs include activities that promote conservation agriculture, the use of flood- and drought-tolerant seeds, and train local and national authorities in disaster response management.

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Last updated: March 23, 2017

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