Malawi unlikely to unlock donor aid, says World Bank

Western nations are concerned by crackdowns on the press and opposition in Malawi, meaning the country is unlikely to unlock vital economic aid currently being withheld by donors, a World Bank official was quoted as saying on Thursday.

The government in Lilongwe also failed to implement key steps necessary for a proposed International Monetary Fund rescue plan, said Sandra Bloemekamp, the World Bank’s countrymanager in Malawi, according to the Nation newspaper.

Sandra Bloemekamp

Food and fuel prices are rising rapidly, while shortages of basic commodities are increasingly being reported, in part owing to the aid stoppage and a poor harvest of tobacco, a key export crop.

President Bingu wa Mutharika has fallen out of favour with donors over the past year, as complaints grow that opponents of the government are being stifled.

Foreign aid at times making up 40 per cent of revenue for the Malawian government.

In July, at least 20 people died during a police crackdown on demonstrations against the rising cost of living and upset over alleged human rights abuses.

Donors are demanding a full investigation into the deaths.

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