Blair praises Malawi president

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tony blair aug 31 Ihsaan Haffejee Former British prime minister Tony Blair answers questions at an interview with Independent Newspapers. Pictures: Ihsaan Haffejee

Former British prime minister Tony Blair declared that new President Joyce Banda has brought “hope and expectation” to Malawi, during his visit to the impoverished southern African nation.

“These are challenging times, difficult times (but) there is an enormous amount of hope and expectation,” Blair said late Thursday in Malawi.

“This has come about because of the leadership she (Banda) has shown.”

Half of Malawi's 14 million people live on less than a dollar a day.

Banda was sworn in as president in April following the death of late president Bingu wa Mutharika, inheriting a battered economy marked by shortages of fuel and foreign exchange.

She swiftly set about restoring relations with foreign donors, who had suspended funds due to concerns about hardline governance and rights issues under Mutharika.

Her administration has launched a “recovery plan” through private sector-led economic growth.

Blair, who heads the non-profit African Governance Initiative, is in Malawi for two days and on Friday will attend an investment roundtable discussion with Malawi's business captains. - AFP


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