The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Malawi underwent a Functional Review Process in the 2019/2020 period in order to address various challenges brought about by the Ministry’s former functional structure. The Review, which was carried out with facilitation of the Department of Human Resource Management and Development, has resulted in the Ministry establishing Directorates based on a geopolitical focus.
The former structure of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Malawi was a modified version of a structure inherited at independence in the 1960s. In this structure, the Ministry was organized along functional lines. It had three core Departments namely: Political, Protocol and International Cooperation. The Departments received management and administrative support from the Department of Administration which comprised a number of Divisions and Sections namely: Administration, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation; Human Resource Management and Development; Finance; Internal Audit, Procurement; Stores; Information and Communication Technology, and Treaties and Legal Affairs.
Over the years, the structure proved duplicitous and restrictive both in terms of knowledge gain and professionalism, and in terms of specialization and effective division of labor. Furthermore, the structure was not responsive to the mandate of the Ministry, and was not aligned to contemporary trends in international relations.
After the Functional Review Process, the Ministry emerged with a new geopolitical outlook with the following Directorates and Divisions as follows:
After the completion of the restructuring exercise, Government appointed Directors and Deputy Directors for the new Directorates, most of whom have since taken up their positions. The Ministry is now in the process of reviewing its operational documents in order to re-align them with the new structure.
The next phase of the Functional Review Process will now involve Malawi Missions abroad. The Ministry will once again carry out the exercise with expert support from the Department of Human Resource Management and Development. The objective is to review Mission mandates and objectives in order to align them with the new structure at the Ministry Headquarters. It is expected that at the end of the exercise, all Malawi Missions abroad will be structured in order to deliver on the expectations and demands of the new restructured Ministry Headquarters, and effectively support overall Government priorities.
The Ministry will also review Malawi’s diplomatic coverage globally. In this regard, the Ministry will examine areas where Malawi could open new diplomatic missions in order to ensure that Malawi is able to accrue more benefits from closer cooperation with strategic partners and countries around the globe.