Andrew Mitchell arrives in Malawi for talks with President Banda
Mitchell, who will also meet a wide range of other stakeholders, is the most senior British official to visit the country since worsening donor ties and a spat with former colonial power Britain triggered twin expulsions of envoys, followed by London’s cutting of direct aid in July over concerns over economic management and governance.
The visit, said the UK Department for International Development (DfID) in a statement follows the UK’s government’s recent announcemrnt that it will provide 30 million pounds Sterling to help the Malawi government “manage the effects of devaluation of the Malawi Kwacha and its impact particularly on poor people.”
The impoverished southern African country last month devalued its kwacha by a third against the dollar, a key International Monetary Fund (IMF) demand to put the economy back on track.
while in Malawi Mitchell has announced that Britain is to buy up to £20 million worth of Malawian currency to help stabilise the African state’s economy.
Late president Bingu wa Mutharika, who died in April following a heart failure, resisted devaluation, arguing it would trigger inflation and hurt the poor in the country, where 39 percent of the 13 million citizens live on less than a dollar a day.
Several key donors, including Britain, suspended aid to Malawi, citing concerns about growing authoritarian tendencies in Mutharika’s government.
Banda has moved swiftly to heal breaches with international donors following the sudden death of her predecessor.
Donors appear ready to resume aid once the IMF endorses the new government’s policies.
Banda, the first woman president in Malawi and the second in African after Liberia’s Ellen Sirleaf, has asked the United States and Britain to resume funding.