Britain to buy up to £20m of Malawian currency

 

Britain is to buy up to £20 million of Malawian currency to help
stabilise the African state's economy following a major devaluation, it
has been revealed.

The announcement was made by International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell during a visit to Malawi which marks a relaunch of the bilateral development partnership under new president Joyce Banda.

The Bank of England will also provide a financial expert to help the Malawian government deal with the impact of the one-third cut in the value of the kwacha, carried out on the advice of the International Monetary Fund earlier this month in a bid to shore up the ailing economy.

Britain suspended direct aid donations to the government of Malawi last year, because of concerns about the economic management and governance of the administration of former president Bingu wa Mutharika, who died in April.

Foreign Secretary William Hague last month announced the UK would appoint a new High Commissioner to the Commonwealth state, a year after the expulsion of the previous holder of the post, who had branded Mutharika "autocratic and intolerant of criticism".

And on May 12, Mr Mitchell announced £10 million in urgent funding from the UK's existing aid budget for Malawi's health system, directed through non-governmental organisations.

Mr Mitchell was today talking with President Banda, who took office on April 7, and senior Malawian finance officials in commercial capital Blantyre.

He will tell her that Britain is determined to ensure that ordinary Malawians do not suffer short-term consequences from the devaluation, which is regarded by the international community as a step in the right direction for Malawi's long-term financial security.

During his three-day visit, the International Development Secretary will also meet with representatives from civil society, the private sector, the religious community and the donor community and view a number of UK-funded programmes, including health clinics.

Mr Mitchell said: "Britain has been a long-time friend to Malawi and we stand ready to help Malawi during this difficult time of transition.

"I have discussed with President Banda Malawi's immediate needs and I look forward to more detailed discussions with the President and her ministers on further UK support during this visit.

"The UK welcomes the peaceful and democratic transition that has recently taken place in Malawi, but growth is critical to Malawi's long-term development.

"That is why we will support Malawi government efforts to stabilise the economy, develop the private sector, diversify the country's exports and get Malawi back onto the path of sustained growth.

"We are already providing crucial support for Malawi's health service to get life-saving medicine to the most vulnerable.

"Furthermore, to help ensure economic stability and future growth, I am pleased to confirm that the Bank of England will be providing technical assistance and will work directly with the Reserve Bank of Malawi."

Speaking ahead of the visit, President Banda said: "I am looking forward to welcoming Mr Mitchell to Malawi and to continuing discussions with him on the UK's development programme.

"The support from the UK is welcome, and I will be discussing with Mr Mitchell and his officials how we can best target this support to provide much needed assistance to the poor and most vulnerable."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence