Sub-Saharan Africa
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East or West, Home is Best: Malawi President Bans Foreign Travel for Himself and Cabinet

© Photo Twitter / @LAZARUSCHAKWERAMalawi's President Lazarus Chakwera
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One might assume that the leader is afraid of air travel, or that he simply does not want to exchange his home by the fireplace for foreign hotels where there is no soul. However, the leader himself has argued that the decision was due to the high cost of foreign travel and the need to revive Malawi's economy.
Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera has imposed a ban on all foreign travel by government officials, including himself, as part of what he calls tough measures to revitalize the southern African country's economy.
"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.
He stated that he would set an example by scaling back his travel plans, including canceling his attendance at the COP28 climate change conference in Dubai later this month.
Chakwera also ordered all ministers currently out of the country to return home and ordered a 50% reduction in fuel allowances for senior government officials.
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However, the President has instructed the Minister of Finance Simplex Chithyola Banda to include provisions for reasonable salary increases for all civil servants in the bi-annual budget review.
The leader's speech came shortly after Malawi announced a 44% devaluation of its currency as part of efforts to secure a $175 million IMF loan.
Chakwera called the devaluation "the most painful thing so far" that will require "big adjustments" to transform the country's economy into a productive and profitable one.
According to the IMF, Malawi has struggled to sustain its economic growth despite substantial inflows of official development assistance.

"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, including an outbreak of cholera and cyclone Freddy this year alone," the financial institution said.