Pretoria- South Africa has agreed to extend a loan of US$35 million to the government of Malawi to assist with the availability of fuel in that country.
This follows a meeting between President Jacob Zuma and Malawian President Joyce Banda aimed at reviewing the state of bilateral relations between the two countries.
The loan will be extended to the government of Malawi in three installments with the first installment of US$10 million paid already on 24 April.
Banda also used the opportunity to brief Zuma about the socio-economic challenges facing Malawi paying particular focus on the fuel and forex reserves shortages.
“Both Zuma and Banda reiterated their commitment in improving and strengthening the political and economic relations by enhancing cooperation between the business communities of the two countries as well as increasing trade and investment.
“In the same vein, both countries agreed to encourage people-to-people contacts through cultural, scientific and educational exchange programmes and tourism,” the Department of International Relations and Co-operation said in a statement.
The two heads of state also expressed satisfaction with the current state of bilateral cooperation between the two countries as conducted within the framework of the Joint Permanent Commission for Cooperation (JCC).
“In this regard, the two Heads of State directed their Ministers of International Relations and Foreign Affairs to ensure that this important Commission meets regularly to maintain the required momentum in the implementation of the existing bilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding.
“To further give expression to strong bilateral relations between the two countries, both parties agreed that the next Session of the Joint Commission for Cooperation will be held in South Africa in early June 2012,” it said.
The two also reflected on Malawi’s state of readiness with respect of hosting the African Union (AU) Summit in July.
“The South African government has committed to support the Malawian government with logistical assistance to ensure that the AU Summit is hosted successfully.”
Zuma also commended Banda, who was inaugurated earlier this month, and the people of Malawi, for the peaceful transfer of power, following the passing of her predecessor, President Bingu wa Mutharika on April 5. -BuaNews