Malawi in 'desperate need' of donor support
15 February 2015, 16:05
Blantyre - Malawian President Peter Mutharika pleaded Sunday with the World Bank to consider resuming aid to the poor southern African nation, saying it was in "desperate need of donor support".
Donors who provide about 40 percent of Malawi's budget, pulled the plug on aid of around $150 million (110 million euros) after a report by British auditors showed that at least $30 million had been swindled from the government over a six-month period in 2013.
"The country is facing numerous economic challenges and it is in desperate need of the donor support to fasten its social economic development," Mutharika said in a statement at the end of a two-day visit by top World Bank directors.
Mutharika, who came to power in May last year after defeating Joyce Banda in an election, said the decision to cut aid due to the scandal dubbed Cashgate in Malawi, had contributed to the country's economic hardship.
"We took leadership of this country nine months ago and for your information we inherited a number of problems... the government was almost bankrupt because most of our donor partners left after the Cashgate scandal," Mutharika told the World Bank officials.
Malawi's plight worsened in January when severe floods left more than 170 people dead and 200,000 homeless.
The president said his country, one of the world's poorest, "needed support from donors to continue with the goal of an improved economy."
He assured the officials that his administration was reforming the management of public finances "to avoid a repetition of the Cashgate".
"We have seen the economic consequences of the Cashgate and I promise that nothing of that nature will ever happen in this country," he said.
Alinter Smith, the leader of the top-level delegation which met Mutharika in Lilongwe, told state television the Bank's support would only resume if changes were made to the way public finances were handled.
"We have made it clear that the bank is ready to support only upon implementation of the financial management systems," Smith said.
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