Malawians feel the pinch of IMF reforms

13 February 2013

Demonstrations have taken place throughout Malawi, prompted by the rising cost of living and the increasingly unpopular leadership of president Joyce Banda, who has been closely following a $156 million three-year programme approved in July 2012. The Extended Credit Facility loan agreement stipulated that Malawi would de-peg the Malawian kwacha from the dollar (the kwacha has now lost more than half its value since April), as well as remove fuel subsidies and price controls. Subsequently, inflation stood at 34.5 per cent in December according to the National Statistical Office. John Kapito, of the Consumers’ Association of Malawi, said “the IMF reforms are rejected by most Malawians, who see them as externally imposed by an IMF taking advantage of Malawi’s economic vulnerability and weak leadership in order to justify its own legitimacy at the expense of the poor.”