* Britain, United States have restored funds, more on way
* IMF "letter of comfort" reassures donors, lenders
By Pascal Fletcher
ADDIS ABABA, July 16 Aid from major donors is
flowing back to Malawi after the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) backed the southern African country's economic policies
and efforts to seek financing, Malawian ministers said on
The IMF issued a so-called "letter of comfort" for the
impoverished nation last month, giving a thumbs-up to its
efforts to seek financial aid and loans.
"Based on this, a lot of donors are releasing aid," Foreign
Minister Mganda Chiume told reporters on the sidelines of an
African Union (AU) summit in the Ethiopian capital.
Major donors such as Britain and the United States have
announced a restoration of aid programmes in recent weeks
following the death of then President Bingu wa Mutharika from a
heart attack in April.
Under Mutharika's rule, assistance dried up over concerns
about his human rights record and handling of the economy.
Since April, new President Joyce Banda has moved swiftly to
woo donors whose aid generally accounts for 40 percent of
Malawi's budget. The budget was unveiled on June 8 and forecasts
growth of 4.3 percent this year and 5.7 percent in 2013.
Information Minister Moses Kunkuyu said Britain would be
providing an additional 25 million pounds ($39 million) of aid
following an earlier 33 million pound package announced after
London resumed aid to Malawi.
"The 33 million is already in the kitty, the 25 million is
on its way," Kunkuyu told reporters in Addis Ababa.
Last month, the United States restored a $350 million
programme to overhaul Malawi's decrepit electricity grid in
recognition of the "sound economic policy" introduced since the
death of Mutharika.
Malawi, one of Africa's poorest states, had been scheduled
to host the AU summit this month but the venue was switched to
Addis Ababa after Banda asked the AU to prevent Sudanese
President Omar al-Bashir from taking part, saying his visit to
Malawi could damage the economy..
Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC)
on genocide charges and, as an ICC member state, Malawi is
supposed to arrest him if he enters its territory.
Chiume said Malawi believed it was in its "best interests"
not to receive Bashir.
"We never said that Sudan should not be represented, neither
did we say he should be arrested," he said, adding that Malawi
had given priority to its relationship with the IMF and donors.
A Bashir visit to Malawi last year when Mutharika was in
power sparked international criticism.
The Sudanese leader has been indicted by the ICC over
allegations he is responsible for the deaths of up to 300,000
people in the region of Darfur since 2003. He has denied the