Germany has put on hold half of its budget support for Malawi - citing concerns over the African country’s stance on human rights - and is sending a clear message to other aid recipients: Good governance and human rights are fundamental preconditions to receiving German aid.
“The adherence to human rights and good governance are fundamental principles of international development cooperation,” German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Dirk Niebel said.
In a letter to Malawi’s Finance Minister Ken Kandodo, Niebel noted that recent changes to Malawi’s penal law have dealt a harsh blow to the young democracy. In November 2010, Malawi’s parliament tweaked the law to penalize homosexuality between women and allow the government to expand its control over the media.
Germany’s budget support will remain suspended until these concerns are addressed, according to a news release from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The country has also recently threatened to cut funding for the Global Fund to Fight Tuberculosis and Malaria over allegations of corruption, and Egypt over the government’s use of force against protesters demanding an end to President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule.
This focus on good governance and human rights may also be part of Germany’s sweeping aid reform, marked by the launch of the country’s merged aid agency, Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, or GIZ, in January.