Friday, March 28, 2014

(NYASATIMES) Blair’s governance group withdrawing work in Malawi
December 20, 2013 Nyasa Times Featured, National 28 comments

Former British Prime Minister Tonly Blair is considering to withdraw its services of his Africa Governance Initiative (AGI) for Malawi’s President Joyce Banda from early next year, Nyasa Times understands.

The charity has been working closely with the Malawi’s president since August last year.

“Three officials of the AGI who were working at State House have been communicated that they are packing up,” said a government insider.

Sources say the AGI staff in Lilongwe has reportedly flown to London to discuss with Blair their future.

AGI began working in Malawi following a visit from Blair who said he wanted to “put on record” his “admiration and respect” for Banda’s leadership and Malawi’s “exciting possibilities”.

The AGI’s team work directly with President Banda’s office to strengthen systems of government in the President’s office: focusing on building processes in the President’s Private Office and enhancing the office’s communications function.

President Banda has had the help of Blair’s AGI

Blair set up his African charity after leaving Downing Street in 2007. It offers governance advice to seven African countries including oil-rich Nigeria and Rwanda.

Recently, Blair’s role as adviser to President Banda raised questions after the British government froze aid to the country amid a growing corruption. That has seen billions of public funds looted in what has been christened as cash-gate.

A spokesman for Blair said that neither the former UK prime minister nor AGI had any idea of the corruption before it was made public in September.

“AGI focuses on government delivery – this is what we mean by governance,” he said in a statement.

“Our role is not political. We work on building the systems and structures to support better policy delivery. Like any other charity or organisation working on technical support, we are not party to everything that happens within the governments we work with.”

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