Despite being known as the ‘Garden City,’ Malawi’s capital city Lilongwe faces increasing pressure on its green spaces. Lilongwe is one of the world’s fastest growing cities, with a population projected to almost double from 1.12 million inhabitants in 2020 to 2.21 million in 2035. This rapid population growth and sprawling urbanisation, coupled with a weak legal framework, and lack of funds, Lilongwe is suffering the consequences: environmental degradation, pollution, biodiversity loss, and uncontrolled development.
The Lilongwe Ecological Corridor Initiative (LECI) aims to transform Lilongwe into a green, clean, prosperous, and resilient city, by ensuring the protection of its urban natural assets, and advancing complementary nature-based solutions.
The corridor cuts through the heart of Lilongwe following the Lingadzi and Lilongwe riverine ecosystem to connect key sites of biological importance. The initiative will strengthen sustainable natural resources management and environmental protection, promote access to nature for all, and stimulate a green economy.
Developments include the relocation of Lizulu and Tsoka markets, the restoration of the riverine habitats, and the creation of a new city riverine park. Environmental protection and enforcement will be strengthened within the corridor, and communities fortunate enough to live within the corridor will benefit from enhanced environmental services, such as waste management. The initiative will also mean better local protection against flooding, improved air and water quality, a stable water table, and less unsightly and hazardous waste for all of Lilongwe’s citizens.
Phase 1, entitled Project Greenheart is close to completion. It will enhance the economic, social and ecological value of the 200-Ha Lilongwe Wildlife Centre through the creation of a leading nature-based tourism destination, and Malawi’s environmental ‘centre of excellence’. Read more here.