By Loness Gwazanga
African Export-Import Bank (AFRIEXIM) President, Professor Benedict Oramah will visit Malawi on July 17, this year (2019) to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with President Peter Mutharika on a number of projects to be implemented in the next five years.
Deputy Director in the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Silas Sindi disclosed the development Wednesday during District Executive Committee meeting in Blantyre.
According to Sindi, the projects include construction of Matindi Industrial Park in Blantyre, an international airport as well as a 5-Star Hotel in Mangochi and another industrial park at Area 55 in Lilongwe and Liwonde Dry Port.
He said though the cost of the whole project was not yet established, some progress was going on as far as the loan was concerned.
To this effect, Sindi said close to 400 hectares of land has already been identified for the project, with Matindi Industrial Park securing 150 hectares.
“The park (in Blantyre) will have infrastructure such as factory shells and uninterrupted water and electricity supply to boost trade.
“We have China, Ethiopia and Zambia as some of the countries in the world that took this kind of route and are now enjoying the fruits. It is our hope that Malawi also benefits from it,” said Sindi.
“Export development, import substitution, employment, increased direct foreign and domestic investment, skills and technology transfers are some of the benefits that will come along with the industrial park project,” he added.
District Commissioner for Blantyre, Bennet Nkasala said the local council was ready for the project as it would uplift the face of the district.
“We are happy as Blantyre District Council to have such a project as it comes with it huge benefits.
“The district’s labour office receives a minimum of 3, 000 job applications per month. This is a clear indication that a lot of people, especially the youth do not have any form of employment.
“So, apart from adding beauty to the district, the project will also create employment opportunities to the youth around the district and through ground rates. We will be able to generate some revenue,” said Nkasala.
Nkasala said officials from the council will hold meetings with chiefs and other community leaders around Matindi area to conduct sensitisation on the positives of the project.
He said the identified land is strictly for cultivation and that he hoped there would not be any hiccups when compensation begins since people would just be getting an alternative source of land.
“This would not be the case if the identified land was for their settlement,” Nkasala said.-MANA