Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Aiding Malawi

14th July saw the Government suspend their general budget support for Malawi, this aid is suspended indefinately.

Malawi is one of the poorest counrties in the world with 72% of people on less than $2 a day.

This morning, I had the pleasure of going to the House of Lords to listen to the oral questions. One of the questions was on this issue of aid:

'Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale to ask Her Majesty's Goverment how they intend to distribute United Kingdom aid in Malawi following their suspension of general budget support for Malawi on 14 July.'

The aid was suspended due to economic mismanagement and governance, which is not really a surprise. The UK are not the only ones to react in this way. The World Bank, the EU, the African Development Bank, Germany and Norway have all suspended or ended general budget support to Malawi.

Britain cut aid to Malawi by £3m last year after the purchase of a presidential jet that cost more than £8m.

It is clear to see that the corruption is rife, and many Malawian NGOs have commented on this. The Malawi opposition has also blamed the President for this cut in aid.

While the general budget support has been withdrawn, the Government is still distibuting aid through health and education sectors and are 'committed to ensure aid reaches the poor'. They have also said that the aid has not been 'cut back, but has been re-directed'.

Only time will tell whether this is the case, but it is important to keep hastling Government bodies on this.

On a side note, in the Lords today several comments were made on the lack of interest the public have shown on issues in Parliament such as NHS reforms and the Education Bill. It is possible to write to Lords and MPs on any issue. Please do untilise this - they do try to reply too! Also, don't forget the importance of the House of Lords, while they may be seen as less important, they do vote on issues and they can make ammendments and withdraw ammendments to Bills. (a Bill that is passed becomes an Act - Law!)

(some facts taken from The Guardian)

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