Malawi's new president is looking to expand its sources of foreign aid, at a time when western donors are lukewarm in channeling budget support to the government.
During his inauguration speech on Monday (June 2) in Blantyre, where he vowed to curb corruption, Arthur Peter Mutharika said: "We need development partners from the west and the east equally, north and south alike."
He expounded on this later on by saying Malawi is "looking for new friends" such as Brazil, Russia, India, South Africa and China, or what is now popularly known as the BRICS countries.
Mutharika's statement came as no surprise. Developing countries, whose budgets are still largely dependent on foreign aid, are reaching out to emerging donors, which may be more disposed to hand out assistance without the usual conditions traditional donors often ask from recipients. Some of these emerging donors have already developed some clout in the continent such as China, whose direct investments in Africa are expected to reach $12 billion in the coming years.
Mutharika's desire — if it comes to pass — would be a win for Malawi, which is still reeling from the effects of the “Cashgate” scandal. Many of the country's donors have suspended aid to the government and won't resume until the case has been resolved and until it has established better financial and management systems.
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