China ready to handover $90m conference to Malawi

China says it is ready to hand over to the Malawian government the  US$90- million conference building built with Chinese aid loan in the country’s capital of Lilongwe, according to Chinese Ambassador Pan Hejun.

The 1, 500-seat Malawi International Conference Centre project, which is affiliated with a 130-room business hotel, a 1,000-seat dining hall and the 170,000-square meter presidential villas, is expected to be a great boost for the Malawian image in the international community.

The conference building to be named after the country’s incumbent Head of State Bingu wa Mutharika is scheduled to host participants of the upcoming African Union summit in July in Lilongwe.

Chinese envoy: Conference ready to be handed to Malawi government

“The involvement of the Malawian workers in the construction has also helped to train the local labour force,” Pan told official China news agency, Xinhua.

The conference and is one of numerous projects funded in line with a pledge of $260m of concessionary loans, grants and aid from China to Malawi to support development, including infrastructure.

Chinese construction companies have been busy in Malawi. The parliament now operates from a grand new building that was opened in June 2010. That project cost around $41m.

China is also building a university of science and technology in the southern district of Thyolo and will construct a national stadium in Blantyre.

Chinese construction companies are also building a secondary school in Thyolo, and a 100km road between the northern districts of Karonga and Chitipa.

Beijing has also promised to build a China-Africa Friendship school in Lilongwe, establish solar and biogas pilot projects, and set up an agricultural technology demonstration centre.

China’s presence in Malawi has been growing steadily since the two countries established diplomatic ties in December 2007, and Malawi abandoned its links to Taiwan after 41 years.

President Mutharika, has declared himself satisfied with his government’s relations with China, pointing out that the Chinese projects come with “no strings attached.”

Malawi has lost support from Western donor due to poor governance and economic mismanagement.

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