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IMF calls on Malawi to devalue currency

BLANTYRE, Malawi (AP) — The International Monetary Fund is calling on impoverished Malawi to devalue its currency.

Tsidi Tsikata, chief of the IMF mission for Malawi, told journalists in the capital, Lilongwe, Saturday that the kwacha’s official rate should be close to black market rates, which range between 280 and 300 kwacha to the dollar. This week, the official rate was around 170. An overvalued currency can hurt exports.

President Bingu wa Mutharika has resisted devaluation calls. Finance Minister Ken Lipenga, who appeared alongside Tsikata at Saturday’s news conference, was noncommittal on the exchange rate.

Western donor nations and multilateral agencies have suspended aid to Malawi because of questions about economic policy and concerns human rights are under threat here.

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