Malawi's Banda to reconcile with donors
Lilongwe - New Malawian President Joyce Banda on Tuesday asked Britain and the United States to resume funding as she moved to heal breaches created by the late president Bingu wa Mutharika.
"I have started speaking to donor partners both inside and outside the country on the economic challenges the country is facing and I pressed them to resume relations with the country," Banda told reporters.
Barely two days after she was sworn in on Saturday Banda has already spoken to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Britain's Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Henry Bellingham.
"I assured Right Honourable Bellingham that I am personally committed to ensuring that the government of Malawi addresses issues that negatively affected our relations," she said.
Bellingham promised to send a new high commissioner to restore relations after a tit-for-tat expulsion of top diplomats, said Banda.
Malawi hopes its former colonial power will resume funding of annual aid worth £19m.
Banda further pressed Clinton to release $350m from the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a US government body that assists developing countries that commit to standards on democracy and basic rights, in funds to improve the crumbling energy sector.
Banda said she told Clinton that Malawi was "committed to restoring the rule of law, respect for human rights and freedoms and demonstrating good economic governance."
"Secretary Clinton indicated to me that the US government will ensure that discussions on the MCC are resumed as soon as possible," Banda said.
The novice president's next move would be to "making sure we have a programme with the International Monetary Fund [IMF]", which went "off-track" last year.