Friday, 27 May 2011

Malawi aid debate - catch up

The great stand-off between Malawi and the UK appears to be continuing and discussions are starting to pop up as to the wisdom of the UK freezing aid.

Jimmy Kainja argues on the Guardian's PovertyMatters blog that freezing or withdrawing aid will hurt the poor but might be mitigated by rerouting aid via NGOs.

Matt at AidThoughts disagrees and points out, quite correctly (and importantly), that this isn't simply about how the aid was being spend or whether the country has good governance, it's a question of whether the country is slipping into authoritarianism under the current leadership.

Bingu wa Mathurika has said that talks are underway (although there is some uncertaintly as the UK denies contact has been made and Malawian government officials insist talks are underway) and attempted to downplay the seriousness of the situation but his finance minister is getting ready to deliver a 'zero-deficit' budget with a 40% hole in it.

Meanwhile, lecturers at Chancellors College, University of Malawi, are still fighting for academic freedom and the MEC, apparently at the instruction of Mutharika has postponed local government elections until 2014.

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