Malawiâ€™s Finance Minister Ken Lipenga and the Chinese Ambassador Pan Hejun signed an agreement through which the Peopleâ€™s Republic of China will provide Malawi approximately $70 million (about K22.4 billion) for construction of the Malawi National Stadium in the capital, Lilongwe.
The landmark occasion took place at Capital Hill Tuesday afternoon. Minister of Sports Enoch Chihana and senior Malawi government officials accompanied Lipenga at the function.
“In July this year, the [Malawi] President [Joyce Banda] laid a foundation stone for the stadium in Lilongwe to mark the launch of the project. The signing of the framework agreement is part of the approval processes for the financial resources to be made available by the Chinese government for the project,” said Lipenga.
He said the resources will be provided through a concessional loan with a repayment period of 20 years (including a seven-year grace period) and at annual interest rate of two percent.
Lipenga said once the stadium is competed, it will solve many challenges the country has been facing in terms of venues for high-profile football matches.
“It was disheartening to note that as a country we were not sure that we could be able to host the African Cup of Nations match between Malawi and Ghana because of the closure of Kamuzu Stadium. We were not sure that CAF would declare the stadium fit to host the match. This shows that as a country, we need to invest more in infrastructure; hence, we are grateful to the Chinese government,” he said.
Pan also described the occasion as a landmark.
“Both governments have been eager to see this project started and, today, I promise you smooth and uninterrupted process in the construction of this project. In two yearsâ€™ time it will be completed and handed over to the Malawi Government,” said Pan.
Chihana thanked the two governments for their commitment to seeing the project started.
This new stadium will seat 40 500 spectators and will have special facilities such conference rooms, television circuit, shopping and exhibition rooms, press gallery, treatment rooms, car park and bathrooms.