Malawi ruler praises China for unconditional aid

Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika whose administration is facing cash problems following western donors withdraw of aid due to governance and human rights concerns, says he was grateful to China for its assistance without any strings attached.

Malawi President noted that China does not demand democratic reforms, good governance and anti-corruption drives as a condition for aid and trade.

Mutharika hailed the Chinese for respecting his government’s independent choice of the road of development and “not undermined or even tried at any time to undermine” Malawi’s sovereignty, unlike the Western donors.

Mutharika: No strings-attached

Satisfied

Mutharika declared himself satisfied with his government’s relations with China because he said the Chinese projects come with “no strings attached”.

“The People’s Republic of China has demonstrated that they are good friends of Malawi,” he stressed.

The Malawi ruler made the remarks on Tuesday in the capital Lilongwe where joined Chinese citizens resident in Malawi in for a festival to mark the start of the “Lunar New Year” – Chinese New Year.

China’s presence in Malawi has been growing steadily since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 2007 when Mutharika dumped Malawi’s 41-years diplomatic partner Taiwan.

Unconditional

Since the Lilongwe-Beijing ties came into effect, China has build  Malawi’s new Parliament and took over from Taiwan the construction of  a 100 kilometre stretch of road between Chitipa and Karonga that was initially impassable for years.

Under construction is a first five-star hotel, $90m worth of well-appointed rooms, a state-of-the-art conference centre and 14 opulent presidential suites.

The Chinese are also building a university of science and technology at Mutharika Ndata Farm in Thyolo District and plans to build a national stadium.

Chinese construction companies are also building a secondary school in Thyolo and also promised to build a China-Africa Friendship school in Lilongwe, establish solar and biogas pilot projects..

“Malawians need to know that the People’s Republic of China has given us all these development structures without any preconditions,” Mutharika said.

But western donors fears for good governance over no-strings handouts.

The Western donors fear China’s failure to match the conditions placed on aid by countries such as Britain – including evidence of good governance, respect for human rights and spending directed to alleviate poverty – could set back progress toward democratic administrations.

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