The UK has released Â£33 million (about K13.5 billion) to Malawi before the 2012/13 national budget in a show of support for the bold steps the country has taken since Joyce Banda took over as President.
British Secretary of State Andrew Mitchell said in an exclusive interview before flying out of the country this Friday that he had been told the money is already in Malawi.
â€œI just had a meeting with your Reserve Bank governor just a few minutes ago and he has just told me that the Â£33 million pounds is already in the banks today [Friday],â€ Mitchell said.
RBM Governor Charles Chuka confirmed in a separate interview that the money came on Friday.
Mitchell said the money has been fast-tracked to support the education, agriculture and the health sectors.
â€œWhat we have done is to bring forward Â£23 million to fund programmes in agriculture, education and health and the Â£10 million has been released to address the drug stock outs,â€ he said.
Mitchel also said that he visited a hospital in Blantyre and saw people with prescriptions queuing for drugs.
â€œBritain has taken the lead to support Malawi…am urging and encouraging other countries to follow our lead and support the brave steps that Malawi has taken,â€ Mitchell said.
Aid-dependent Malawi slid into economic crisis over the past year as late President Bingu wa Mutharika squabbled with major western donors who then froze millions of dollars of assistance.
But President Joyce Banda has quickly engaged donors in the last few weeks since assuming power, restored diplomatic relations with Britain and asked the IMF for a new programme.
Her diplomacy seem to have worked so far. Last month the Fund asked the countryâ€™s key donors to pledge their financial commitments to 2012/13 budget to make it easy for government to formulate the budget.
The African Development Bank has responded to the calls and pledged to give Malawi $45 million in three trenches while the World Bank has said it will work with the IMF to quickly respond to Malawiâ€™s needs.