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Annie Lennox has become the first person to sign a pledge which promises an ongoing friendship between Scotland and Malawi.

She offered her support to the Scotland Malawi Partnership’s pledge after a report showed the initiative will benefit around 1.3 million needy Malawians with aid valued at over £30 million every year.

“Through my visits to African townships, hospitals, orphanages and rural areas, I started to get a better understanding of what life is like outside my own western comfort zone,” she said. "There is absolutely no comparison between the type of poverty that exists in the west, and the grinding, endemic poverty experienced by those people living in countries like sub-Saharan Africa. In a climate of global economic downturn, those who are most vulnerable to the impact are the world’s poorest.

“This is why I fully endorse the continuation of partnership between Scotland and Malawi. I want to support and engage with the issues of women and girls beyond my own horizons.

“We are citizens of the world, and we can make a difference and contribution to positive change.”

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