Visiting United Kingdom Development Minister Grant Shapps said his government will continue support Malawi in its efforts to reduce poverty but said London will not be channelling its funds through government systems.
Britain, Malawi’s former colonial master and major bilateral donor, first suspended direct budget support to Malawi in 2009 after being angered by a decision to buy the presidential jet. London’s position hardened in October 2013 when other development partners also suspended direct budgetary support to Malawi citing poor public finance management as exposed through Cashgate—the plunder of resources at Capital Hill.
Speaking on Tuesday after an audience with Malawi President Peter Mutharika in the capital Lilongwe, Shapps said he was impressed by the country’s reforms on poverty reduction, financial management, public reforms as well as action to tackle corruption.
“The UK will work in support of the national priorities and in close partnership with government to achieve its goals,” he said.
UK’s strong support for the poor people of Malawi was demonstrated by the increase in bilateral programmes with Malawi towards health, education, agriculture, water and sanitation among others.
However, Shapps said while UK cannot channel funding through government financial systems, they are still working in support of “national priorities” and in very close partnership with government in crucial sectors which support budgetary aims.
“Our strength of support for poor people in Malawi is demonstrated by the increase in DfID Malawi’s bilateral programme this year to over £72 million [K50 billion], with a broad portfolio of investments.”
Mutharika said Britain and Malawi’s bilateral relations are strong, noting that this was the highest-level delegation his year-old administration has received from the UK.