Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera has come under fire for keeping secret his government’s decision to send about 221 young people to work on farms in Israel.
This decision, implemented on Saturday, comes in the wake of Israel’s recent aid contribution of $60 million (£47 million) aimed at supporting Malawi’s economic recovery.
The labour export deal has been criticised amid concerns over the secrecy with which it was done and the potential risks to citizens at a time Israel is in a conflict with the Palestinian Hamas group.
“Sending people to a war-torn country like Israel, where some countries are withdrawing their labour is something unheard of,” Malawian opposition leader Kondwani Nankhumwa told the BBC.
He also questioned why the government had kept the deal secret, only informing parliament about a plan to send workers to an unnamed country on 22 November.
The government has defended the deal, saying that it will export Malawians to Israel and other countries to “fulfil this administration’s commitment to job creation and youth empowerment”.
The government also assured of the safety and security of the Malawians, saying that they will work in locations which are “classified as fit and safe” and will be provided with medical insurance and repatriation protections.