Malawi is set to receive a $91 million loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help fund a balance of payments deficit exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization said in a statement.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is having a severe impact on Malawi, creating an urgent balance of payments need,” Tao Zhang, deputy manager of the IMF, said in the statement.
“The authorities have been proactive in mitigating the impact of the pandemic, including through increased spending on health care and social assistance … and ensuring food security through purchase and storage of agricultural harvests,” he added.
Malawi is one of 52 countries in Africa that have recorded cases of COVID-19. The country has registered 39 infections and three deaths, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Southeast African state was already struggling economically even before the pandemic struck, due to a lengthy drought.
The country’s main export is tobacco, which makes up up about half of export earnings, alongside other crops such as tea and sugar.
The World Bank said last month it had approved a $37 million funding package to help Malawi respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.