Clinton praises Joyce Banda for pulling Malawi from economic brink

Malawi’s Head of State Joyce Banda on Sunday held bilateral talks with the United States of America (USA) Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton at the New State House in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe. This was the first visit to Malawi by a USA Secretary of State.

Clinton hailed Banda for pulling her impoverished country back from the economic brink after a political crisis.

President Banda took the opportunity to share her vision to eradicate poverty among the people through economic growth and wealth creation. She informed Secretary Clinton that her administration is committed to a quick economic recovery programme and that it has so far identified five priority areas that form Malawi’s medium to long term development plan. They are Agriculture; Tourism; Mining; Energy; and Infrastructure Development, she said.

Clinton and Banda

She reiterated her commitment to the rule of law, human rights and democratic institutions and to nurture Malawi’s democracy. In this regard, President Banda requested for increased support towards strengthening of democracy and governance through capacity building for institutions like political parties, Parliament and the civil society, among others. She also requested for assistance for capacity strengthening for Malawi Defence Forces’ peace keeping exercises and the Malawi Police Service training.

Clinton commended President Banda and her new Government on the progress Malawi has made on political and economic governance. Wife of the former US President Bill Clinton, Hillary also applauded President Banda’s administration for regaining donor confidence, restoration of the Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Extended Credit Facility and for the improvements in the economic policy and on human rights.

President Banda applauded the cordial relationship between the Malawi Government and the US Government. She appreciated the fact that the US Government commended Malawi for the constitutional transition in April 2012.

President Banda further acknowledged the confidence the US Government has in Malawi’s new administration; and that this confidence was clearly demonstrated through the warm welcome and enthusiasm that was accorded to President Banda and her delegation during their visit to the US in June this year, according to a State House Press Statement.
According to the statement, the President also thanked the US Government for the bilateral assistance to Malawi, specifically citing the fact that Malawi is a recipient of over $200 million US Government financial support in health, education, economic growth and governance, among other sectors.

She appreciated that Malawi is a recipient of all five US Government Presidential Initiatives—the Feed the Future Initiative, which President Banda officially launched in July; the Global Health Initiative; the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the President’s Malaria Initiative; and the Global Climate Change Initiative.

MCC restoration

President Banda thanked Clinton in her capacity as Chairperson of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) for the reinstatement of Malawi’s Compact to improve the country’s power sector.

Clinton commended the Malawi Government for strong leadership on fiscal discipline, encouraging President Banda’s administration to continue keeping expenditures under control; the need for shared sacrifice; transparency; accountability; and Government’s sustained engagement with the civil society and the private sector.

“Secretary Clinton noted President Banda’s drive towards private sector-led growth and that trade should replace aid. In this regard, Secretary Clinton called for the strengthening of Malawi’s trade with the US and urged Malawi to take full advantage of the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA), as well as the US Africa Energy Finance Initiative coordinated by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation,” said the State House statement.

Clinton in Malawi
Clinton and Banda

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