Malawi President Chakwera bans himself, cabinet from foreign travel

Friday November 17 2023

Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera. PHOTO | NMG


Malawi's President Lazarus Chakwera has imposed a travel ban on himself and his government to cut public spending and help the country's ailing economy. 

The move was announced after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a $175-million loan for the southern African nation. 

"I am imposing a freeze on all publicly funded international trips for public officers at all levels... until the end of the financial year in March," Chakwera said in a televised address late on Wednesday.

Read: Malawi's President Chakwera dissolves cabinet

It means the former evangelical preacher will skip a scheduled attendance at the COP28 climate summit later this month in the UAE.

Chakwera also mandated that all cabinet members currently abroad on publicly funded trips promptly return home and ordered a 50-percent reduction in fuel allowances for senior government officials.


Earlier this week, the landlocked country announced a 44-percent devaluation of its currency as it worked to secure the IMF loan. 

Read: 5 African countries facing risk of debt crisis

For decades, Malawi has struggled to sustain growth despite large inflows of official development assistance, according to the IMF. 

"The past three years have been particularly difficult with stagnating growth and widening macroeconomic imbalances due to unsustainable debt and the effects of multiple shocks," the financial institution said, citing a recent outbreak of cholera and a cyclone that killed more than 1,000 people this year.