UK development secretary begins visit to Malawi

UK International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell is visiting Malawi where he will hold talks with the new President Joyce Banda.

Mitchell arrived on Wednesday in a trip which he will also meet a wide range of other stakeholders.

UK Department for International Development (DfID) in a statement accessed by Nyasa Times that follows the UK’s government’s recent announcement that it will provide  £30 million to help cushion the impact of the country’s planned devaluation of its currency.

Mitchell said that he wanted to “stand by” Malawi as it “turns a page in its history and hopefully embraces a brighter future”.

Mitchel in Malawi to hold talks with President Banda

President Banda has said the support given by Britain has come “at a critical time for Malawi and will help to manage the impact on the poor and most vulnerable.”

Malawi needs “lot of support, very quickly – in the region of $500m,” according to Banda,  who grappled her way to power last month after her predecessor Bingu wa Mutharika died of a heart attack and his aides briefly attempted to subvert the constitution to keep her from taking over.

Mitchell visit comes after President Banda took a stand to normalise relations with the UK which were strained by late president Bingu wa Mutharika.

Since Banda took over power on April 7, following the death of dictator Mutharika, Lilongwe and London announced a resumption of diplomatic  ties and the forthcoming appointment of a new high commissioners.

Banda appointed career diplomat Bernard Sande as High Commissioner to London. UK is yet to name its envoy to Lilongwe.

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