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UPDATE 1-Malawi appoints Ken Kandodo as finance minister

Wed, 17th Jun 2009 14:38

LILONGWE, June 17 (Reuters) - Malawi's President Bingu wa Mutharika on Wed
nesday named Ken Kandodo as finance minister as part of his new government, replacing Goodall Gondwe, the president's office said.

Kandodo was former head of Malawi's national food reserve agency.

A former Africa head at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Gondwe was appointed in 2004 and presided over near-double digit annual growth as the southern African nation opened up to international investment.

Malawi is expected to be one of the world's fastest growing economies this year, with forecasts of 7 percent expansion this year despite the impact of global recession.

Policy makers attribute the strong projections for this year to a bumper maize crop and the start of uranium production at a new mine.

Despite the strong growth of recent years, annual gross domestic product is still only just over $300 per capita and AIDS has orphaned about one million children.

The government has long been trying to diversify the economy out of its mainstay, tobacco, which accounts for more than 70 percent of exports and 15 percent of total output, and into other products such as sugar and rice.

(Reporting by Mabvuto Banda; Editing by Victoria Main) Keywords: MALAWI FINMIN/

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