Malawi pushes Zimbabwe Govt to pay $23m debt

Malawi has dispatched a government delegation to Zimbabwe to collect part payment of a US$23 million that country has been owing Malawi since 2007.

The debt, which the Robert Mugabe government defaulted for about five years, is a balance from a US$100 million loan it borrowed from Malawi for the purpose of purchasing and importing maize from the country.

Minister of Energy and Mining Cassim Chilumpha said the delegation is expected to collect from Mugabe about US $12 million (K2.8billion) while the balance will be settled later.

Chilumpha: Pay back time for Zimbabwe

The minister said the whole money will be channelled towards the procurement of fuel which the country has been in dire need of over the last two years.

Chilumpha, however, could not mention the composition of the delegation and other agreements made in recovering the money.

The administration of former President Bingu wa Mutharika never bother to recover the loan because Mutharika and Mugabe had a strong political bond.

When Mutharika was still in power, it almost became certain that the impoverished Southern African nation had written off the loan to Zimbabwe, a country with better developed infrastructure, agriculture and industry and Malawians took it as an insult to the poor majority who still live on less than one US$ per day.

The Malawi Government, through the Reserve Bank of Malawi, issued the loan to the then hunger-stricken Zimbabwe, through its Reserve Bank, under very questionable circumstances as the deal only came into the public domain three years down the line.

In another development, the South African Government has finally officially handed over the US$10 million fuel it pledged three weeks ago to support Malawi with.

The fuel was officially presented to the Malawi Government on Thursday in the capital Lilongwe by the South African High Commissioner to Malawi Thombile Mabude.

Only described by Mabude as a “soft loan” to Malawi, the pledge is part of the US$35 million which the Jacob Zuma government will give her Malawian counterpart Joyce Banda.

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