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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Joyce Banda, Malawi's new president, has announced the presidential jet and fleet of 60 Mercedes limousines would be sold.

Joyce Banda, Malawi's new president, has announced the £14 million presidential jet and fleet of 60 Mercedes limousines would be sold in a move applauded by a British cabinet minister as an example to other African leaders.

Mrs Banda had sent a signal of her intent and her priorities at a time of financial austerity both in Malawi and Britain Photo: AFP

By Aislinn Laing, Johannesburg and Damien McElroy

4:30PM BST 01 Jun 2012

Mrs Banda said she was happy to "offload" the presidential perks, adding: "I can well use private airlines. I am already used to hitchhiking."

It means that the 62-year-old head of state – the second woman to hold the position in Africa – will fly to the Queen's Jubilee celebrations in London this weekend with British Airways.

Andrew Mitchell, the UK International Development Secretary who is currently visiting Malawi, delivered a £33m cash injection for Mrs Banda's government.

He said the move was a sign of the "seriousness Mrs Banda is applying to overturn bad decisions taken under the previous government".

The former vice-president in Bingu wa Mutharika's government, she stepped into the presidency in April when he suffered a heart attack. The jet had annual running costs of £220,000

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