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Malawi Closer to IMF Life-ring

FILE: Representative image of a life ring used to save someone from drowning, representing the IMF cash for Malawi. Taken October 4, 2015

International Monetary Fund [IMF] approval of up to $54 million in Malawi emergency funding is likely shortly, sources said Tuesday, to help the southern African country deal with cash shortages.

Malawi, where fuel stations are running dry due to a lack of foreign currency, would be the first African country to receive special IMF emergency financing to deal with the global inflation crisis.

Malawi desperately needs funds to import fuel and subsidized fertilizer, the finance ministry source said, as pressure on the government grows ahead of the rainy season when farmers will need it.

The IMF's executive board is expected to sign off imminently on the funding after talks finished on Monday, fund and Malawi finance ministry sources told Reuters. They spoke on condition of anonymity as the decision was not yet final.

Ukraine received $1.3 billion under the same new programme, known as the "Food Shock Window" earlier this month.