LILONGWE--UK Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Henry Bellingham MP will visit Malawi from 15-17 July 2012 where he will hold high level meetings with Pres Joyce Banda and senior figures from the private sector.
"I am very much looking forward to my first visit to Malawi and to meeting Her Excellency President Joyce Banda on her one hundredth day in office. There is a long and deep friendship between the people of Britain and Malawi. We are committed to maintaining excellent relations with Malawi to serve the long term interests of both our countries," Bellingham was quoted saying in a brief statement by the British High Commission in Malawi.
Bellingham becomes the second UK government minister to visit Malawi since Pres Banda assumed office in April following the sudden death of Pres Bingu wa Mutharika.
In May, 2012 the Secretary of State for International Development Rt. Hon Andrew Mitchell visited Malawi. In
June, the UK announced the appointment of Michael Nevin as new British High Commissioner to Malawi. Nevin, who will take up his appointment in September 2012, takes the place of Fergus Cochrane-Dyet expelled from
Malawi by the Mutharika administration, which was the first time the southern African country had cut diplomatic ties with the colonial ruler.
The envoy, in a leaked diplomatic cable to his superiors in London, had described Mutharika as an autocrat.
Britain, Malawi’s main bilateral aid giver, had warned Malawi against the expulsion. London retaliated by expelling Malawi top envoy to the country and cut off budget support.
Soon after she was inaugurated, Pres Banda reached out to the UK to re-establish ties and resume aid.
The UK, through the Department for International Development (DFID) provides about £80 million support to Malawi each year to help implement the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS).
DFID has already disbursed £23 million since April this year to help fiscal stability and provide essential support to health, education and agriculture.
---©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment.