IMF approves $174 million loan to Malawi – finance minister

BLANTYRE (Reuters) – The International Monetary Fund’s Executive Board has approved a $174 million loan to Malawi, the southern African country’s finance minister said on Wednesday.

Malawian authorities reached a staff-level agreement with the fund on the four-year Extended Credit Facility in September.

Earlier this month it devalued its currency by about 30% as it battles severe shortages of fuel, medicines and fertilisers linked to foreign-currency shortages.

“The decision is a big breather for us and our economy,” Finance Minister Simplex Chithyola Banda said in a telephone interview with Reuters.

“Two major benefits expected are the resumption of budgetary support from our traditional donors and the easing of foreign currency supplies,” he said.

(Reporting by Frank Phiri; Writing by Anait Miridzhanian; Editing by David Gregorio)