But the thing with Malawi is the aid the country receives, is not actually aid but the country’s foreign direct investment. A large chunk of Malawi’s economy is dependent on foreign aid.
At least 60 percent of the population is small scale farmers, focusing on commodities like tobacco, but the country’s neighbor Zimbabwe takes a lot of the tobacco buying market anyway. So they not really making all much from farming anyway…
So what went wrong, in the country full of promise? I mean, its president Bingu wa Mutharika was doing so well when he took over. The country’s people loved him; he came with what many called “economic strategy”, by putting large amounts of money into the country’s only real economic “powerhouse” agriculture.
But as the years rolled on – as we have seen time and time again in Africa – Mutharika kinda lost focus a little bit.
Just last week, he branded protesters servants of Satan … and said God would help.
These were people struggling to put bread on the table, struggling to keep a job and earn more than 5 US dollars a day.
But what barcode rebels see, is that it is becoming clear that with foreign aid pulling out very quickly, in the absence of divine intervention what Malawi really needs is foreign money … and quickly.
Mutharika outraged by a leaked diplomatic cable that branded him autocratic, expelled British diplomats responsible for giving Malawi millions of US dollars every year.
The British responded with “well screw you” and suspended aid of more than half a billion dollars.
For a country so reliant on international donors – where many live on less than a dollar a day – it’s a bitter blow.
The country has now been forced to slash its already low budget spending. Worse, the removal of aid has hit what it was depending on for economic growth the most, fertilizer subsidies…crucial for farming.
This and with the States now pulling aid, the lack of foreign money also means Malawi cannot afford to import fuel needed for consumers. Motorists have had to in the last couple of weeks wait in long 15 hour queues at fuel stations and getting, if they are lucky 10 litres….
The country’s healthcare and civil servant salaries will also be affected, as this is what the American’s aid went towards.
The death of at least 18 protesters is hardly likely to attract new foreign money either – let alone God’s good graces.