The US Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) board is set to meet this June 21 to decide Malawiâ€™s fate on the suspended $350 million (about K93.8 billion) MCC compact programme.
The initiative, whose aim is to upgrade electricity infrastructure and improve the performance of key energy institutions in Malawi, was suspended last year by the MCC board chaired by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton due to governance and management concerns during the late president Bingu wa Mutharikaâ€™s administration.
US embassy spokesperson Benjamin Canavan said in an interview from Lilongwe on Wednesday the MCC board is scheduled to meet on June 21 to decide Malawiâ€™s fate. He could not give further details before the meeting.
Despite several warnings by the US government and pressure on Washington to remove Malawi from the programme over Lilongweâ€™s poor handling of the July 20 2011 anti-government demonstrations and for hosting Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir during the Comesa Summit last October against calls not to do so, Malawi was not remorseful and did little to salvage the situation. The US was thus forced to suspend the grant on July 28 2011.
MCC indicated it was placing an operational hold on Malawiâ€™s compact until a review of its partnership following events of the July 20 which exposed Malawiâ€™s lack of commitment to uphold rule of law, political pluralism and respect for human rights.
President Joyce Banda, who ascended to power on April 7 2012 in line with constitutional order after Mutharikaâ€™s death, has shown commitment to address the MCC concerns to bring back the compact.
Banda put her foot down not to allow al-Bashir at an African Union (AU) Summit initially scheduled for Lilongwe from July 9 to 16, forcing the AU to shift the summit to its headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
And speaking after meeting Banda in Washington DC on Saturday, MCC vice-president Patrick Fine commended Banda for the progress she has made on reforms to improve good governance and economic reforms in Malawi.