UK aid money spent trying to boost British role in Malawi oil sector; Alice Ross; The Guardian

Project aimed to make UK ‘partner of choice’ in industry, but campaigners warn of potential for ecological disaster.

The British government spent thousands of pounds of aid money on a project aimed at “establishing the UK as the partner of choice” in the nascent oil and gas sector of one of the world’s poorest countries.

Malawi is believed to have substantial oil deposits, including under Lake Malawi, a pristine freshwater lake – the third largest in Africa – whose southern shores are a protected Unesco world heritage site. Unesco has warned that any oil activity near the lake risks causing an ecological disaster.

Kate Osamor, the shadow international development secretary, said the project raised “real concerns” about development spending being geared towards boosting British trade, potentially at the expense of sensitive habitats.

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