Long fuel queues in Malawi as economic crisis worsens

Opposition and activists groups in Malawi have called for fresh protests over a worsening fuel crisis and the rising cost of living.

Over the last few weeks hundreds of people have been spending hours and days at petrol stations as they look for supplies.

“I think it’s getting a little bit out of hand. I sincerely hope that our government will find a way to resolve this because fuel is the kind of the driving force behind all the businesses that we’re doing,” Subira told the BBC as she waited in a petrol queue.

Taxi driver Joel Ngonga said he had been looking for fuel for 24 hours: “I’ve been searching for fuel maybe four times today. When I go to a fuel station, they say it’s finished.”

Malawi’s energy regulator says a severe lack of foreign currency is to blame for the crisis. The country is facing one of its worst economic crises with rising inflation rates that have seen the cost of food skyrocket.

In May, the Malawian government devalued the local currency, the kwacha, by 25% to try and stabilise dwindling foreign currency reserves. But the move led to a sharp increase in inflation and the cost of food.

Anger about the economic situation in the country has boiled over into the streets with protesters demanding President Lazarus Chakwera resigns.

The government has asked for more time to resolve the crisis and says the president understands the frustration of people.

The southern African nation of 19 million has the fourth highest percentage of people living in extreme poverty in the world.

BBC Africa

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