By Linda Kwanjana
Malawi Leader President Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has hinted on the critical importance of International Monetary Fund (IMF) extended credit facility (ECF) to the development of the country.
Chakwera on Saturday met the IMF mission which is in the country with government officials upbeat of clinching the extended credit facility (ECF) this year.
IMF officials say the team is in the country to conduct the first review of Malawi’s candidacy for the ECF.
Presidential Press Secretary Anthony Kasunda said the team briefed the President on the success of the first review and that the second and final review will be conducted in June before the results are presented to the IMF Board for its consideration.
According to Kasunda, the President is optimistic that Malawi will clinch the ECF deal this year.
IMF Resident Representative Farai Gwenhamo said the team, led by the mission chief, Mika Saito, is in the country from May 12-22 to hold more discussions with government on the ECF.
Recently , the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a disbursement of US$88.327 million (SDR 69.40 million) under the Food Shock Window of the Rapid Credit Facility to help Malawi address urgent balance of payment needs related to the global food crisis.
IMF opined that Food insecurity in Malawi has increased significantly owing to multiple tropical storms, below-average crop production, and increasing prices for food and agricultural inputs such as fertilizer and seed.
As a result, about 20 percent of the population is projected to be acutely food insecure during the upcoming 2022/23 lean season (October 2022-March 2023), or more than twice as many people as was in 2021.