JB to attend Queen’s jubilee, speak at London think tank

Malawi President Mrs Joyce Banda who has restored the cordial diplomatic ties with Britain has accepted an invitation to attend events in London celebrating Queen’s diamond jubilee.

Nyasa Times understands President Banda and the First Gentleman retired chief judge Richard Banda will arrive in London on Monday.

The festivities to mark the Queen’s 60th year as monarch, a feat only achieved by one previous British monarch Queen Victoria in 1897 starts this weekend with crowds expected in London and parties across Britain.

President Banda’s official visit comes at a time when Britain has announced it would immediately provide some £33m (over $50m) of currency support in the health, agriculture and education programmes to beef up the value of the Malawi currency, the kwacha that recently underwent a massive 50 per cent devaluation.

President Joyce Banda: Visiting England

The new aid package was announced by International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell during a visit to Malawi which marks a relaunch of the bilateral development partnership and normal diplomatic relations.

Britain suspended direct aid donations to the government of Malawi last year, because of concerns about the economic management and governance of the administration of former president Bingu wa Mutharika, who died in April.

But Banda, who took office on April 7, has managed to repair the relationship and  disclosed that she has approved the name of the new British High Commissioner to Malawi and that “he will be in the country soon.”

She also said Malawi High Commissioner-designate Bernard Sande “was also approved in Parliament when his name was submitted” and would take his position in London.

London  talk

Meanwhile, President Banda will also deliver a speech at Chatham House, a think-tank in London on Thursday June 7 on “Malawi’s Policy and Priorities for a Globalized World.”

The talk  at the international affairs policy institute, Chatham House,  will take place in the afternoon and will be chaired by  Alex Vines OBE, Research Director of Area Studies and International Law; Head of the Africa Programme.

According to Chatham House,  President Banda will in her speech outline her international agenda in support of broad based sustainable growth for Malawi’s citizens and stability for its region.

Chatham House says “Malawi stands to gain considerably from globalization and the increasing importance of Southern and Eastern Africa as global trade hubs. Yet considerable challenges come from these changes also, and Malawi is undergoing often painful transition as it adjusts to emerging international economic realities.”

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