Britain boosts Malawi aid to £54m

2012-07-17 14:42
Joyce Banda. (AFP)

Joyce Banda. (AFP)

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Blantyre - Britain will give its former colony Malawi additional aid of £24m for its economic recovery programme, the visiting British minister for Africa said on Tuesday.

The latest aid package, which comes on top of £30m announced in April, will help the southern African nation's health services and support a popular farm subsidy programme, Henry Bellingham told reporters.

He said that Britain wants Malawi, which gets 40% of its budget cash from donors, to "migrate from aid dependency to trade".

"Currently, our two-way trade is worth £58.5m pounds per annum, and the balance of trade is in Malawi's favour. My ambition is to see that figure doubled, with Malawi gaining more through trade than aid," he said.

He said he wants to see British firms invest in the former colony, "training people and transeferring skills, expertise and technology".

The aid is the latest step toward strengthening ties with Malawi's new President Joyce Banda, after a diplomatic spat with her predecessor Bingu wa Mutharika.

International worries about Mutharika's governance led most donors, including Britain, to cut off aid.

Since taking office, Banda has restored relations with donors and set about making economic reforms.

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