Joyce Banda, Malawiâ€™s new president, has announced the 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 said she was happy to â€œoffloadâ€ the presidential perks, adding: â€œI can well use private airlines. I am already used to hitchhiking.â€
It means that the 62-year-old head of state â€“ the second woman to hold the position in Africa â€“ will fly to the Queenâ€™s Jubilee celebrations in London this weekend with British Airways.
Andrew Mitchell, the UK International Development Secretary who is currently visiting Malawi, delivered a Â£33m cash injection for Mrs Bandaâ€™s government.
He said the move was a sign of the â€œseriousness Mrs Banda is applying to overturn bad decisions taken under the previous governmentâ€.
The former vice-president in Bingu wa Mutharikaâ€™s government, she stepped into the presidency in April when he suffered a heart attack. The jet had annual running costs of Â£220,000.
Since then, she has sacked former members of the â€œold guardâ€ in the cabinet and security services, brought back Malawiâ€™s old flag and pledged to lift the countryâ€™s ban on homosexuality.
Most recently, she followed long-standing International Monetary Fund advice to devalue Malawiâ€™s currency by a third.
The move caused panic buying and a sharp rise in the prices of basic foods and fuel.Â Â But her decisions have seen donors including Britain, the EU, Germany, Norway and the World Bank, re-establish warm relations with Malawi.
Mr Mitchell announced that Britain, Malawiâ€™s biggest bilateral aid donor, would send a Bank of England expert to help stabilise the currency, and handed Â£23 million to the Finance Ministry.
He said that Mrs Banda had sent a signal of her intent and her priorities at a time of financial austerity both in Malawi and Britain.
â€œThe importance of an African leader giving up the jets and Mercedes is iconic,â€ he said.
â€œThere are millions of people in need of drugs. I went to a hospital and saw people who were clearly ill queueing for drugs that were not there.
â€œWe are making Â£10 million available for Malawi to stock up, and extra funding for agriculture, education and health to reinforce the work of this very good president.â€
Steve Sharra, a prominent Malawian blogger, said that Mrs Bandaâ€™s actions were broadly welcomed by her countrymen.
Critics joked, however, that Malawi was transforming from a â€œGod-fearing countryâ€ to a â€œdonor-fearing countryâ€.
â€œThe currency devaluation has been hard but I think most people understood why it had to happen and she is enjoying extraordinary amounts of goodwill and trust among Malawians,â€ he said.
â€œAll presidents start out well and we will have to see how she behaves after she is re-elected but for me, whatâ€™s important is that she consults before taking decisions. With President Mutharika, it was his way or the highway.â€
The former presidentâ€™s profligacy provoked a Whitehall decision to suspend aid to Malawi last year.
In 2010, he was accused of using Â£2 million of public money to build new roads to travel in comfort to his second wedding.
The same year, he unveiled a multi-million dollar Taj Mahal-style mausoleum in memory of his late wife Ethel.
Mr Mutharika had defended the purchase of the jet as a â€œmustâ€ for a national leader in 2009.
â€œThe jet that I purchased is not mine. It belongs to the nation,â€ he claimed. â€œIt will be used by 10, 11 other people coming after me. So thatâ€™s an asset.â€