Malawi president Arthur Peter Mutharika has launched an emergency cash transfer programme for nearly one million people and small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eligible households will receive a 35,000 Malawi kwacha ($40) monthly payment, matching the country’s minimum wage, through mobile cash transfer starting in May, according to the president.
“This will strengthen livelihoods,” Mutharika said in a televised address to the nation. He, however, did not state how long the programme would last.
Meanwhile, the opposition and human rights bodies had already criticized Mutharika’s handling of the outbreak, accusing him of putting partisan interests first.
According to reports, so far the country has recorded 36 positive cases of COVID-19 and three deaths. In recent years, the country has suffered from economic stagnation that has steered increasing fall in living standards.
Last week the World Bank approved a $37 million funding package to help Malawi respond to the coronavirus.
Malawi’s high court has temporarily halted the government’s decision to impose a 21-day lockdown on the country. The court