Scotland has particularly close links with the African nation of Malawi, whose largest city is called Blantyre, after the Scottish birthplace of the explorer David Livingstone. During colonial days, the Church of Scotland and the Free Church of Scotland were especially active in missionary work. Even today, Presbyterianism is the largest religious denomination in the country.
Recently the UK government announced that it was withdrawing £19 million in aid to Malawi, citing concerns over the failure of the Malawi government to address corruption and mismanagement issues. Amidst growing worries that the Malawian government is becoming increasingly authoritarian and intolerant of opposition, the UK government also announced the suspension of its aid programme to the impoverished nation.
Scottish aid to Malawi is largely directed through the Scotland-Malawi Partnership a charitable umbrella organisation, independent to the Scottish Government. Yesterday the SNP MSP for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth, Jamie Hepburn, welcomed the news that the Scottish Government will continuing with its previous commitments to deliver aid to help poverty-stricken people in Malawi.
The news was revealed through a series of Parliamentary Questions lodged by Mr Hepburn.
The Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop has confirmed that aid is continuing to be delivered by the Scottish Government via Scottish based charities.
Mr Hepburn said: “This is very welcome news indeed.
“Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world and approximately 40% of Malawi’s budget comes from abroad via aid. It is of paramount importance to the people of Malawi that Scotland continues its support.
“Scotland is a responsible nation, and our distinctive approach to international development has made a difference to some of the most vulnerable people in the world.”