In the wake of proposals to decriminalise homosexuality and to improve human rights at large in Malawi, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the UK government have both announced increase in aid for the country.
The former president, Bingu wa Mutharika, who died in office this April, had been widely criticised for his approach to the economy and human rights, which resulted in severe curbs in international aid.
However, the new president, Joyce Banda, is seen something of a moderniser, and in a sweep of new measures, announced that so-called indecency laws and those against ‘unnatural sexual acts’ will be repealed.
Mrs Banda also devalued Malawi’s currency, the kwacha, last month, something her predecessor had long resisted, despite demands from the IMF.
Meanwhile, the UK government has also announced a £33 million aid package for Malawi earlier this week.
In December 2011, the Malawian Justice Minister included the country’s anti-gay laws in a list of legislation he wants reviewed, saying the rules may not reflect “public opinion”.
Ephraim Chiume said: “In view of the sentiments from the general public and in response to public opinion regarding certain laws, the government wishes to announce to the Malawi nation that it is submitting the relevant laws and provisions of laws to the Law Commission for review.”
The US and Scandinavian countries such as Norway and Sweden have also in recent years threatened to curb aid to those countries which did not recognise LGBT rights in their territories.