Karonga-Chitipa road gets additional China funds

Malawi government has received a boost to complete the 106-km Karonga–Chitipa road, in northern region after signing with China two financial agreements worth K4.3 billion and a cooperation protocol which includes additional financing for the road project.

Finance Minister Dr Ken Lipenga signed on behalf of Malawi government while Chinese ambassador Pan Hejun signed on behalf of Beijing.

Lipenga said the agreement included the additional financing for the Karonga-Chitipa Road, describing it as “timely.”

The road is one of the projects that the Chinese government will implement   in the country and already pumped $70 million (about K10 billion).

Construction work on Karonga-Chitipa road. Photo: ndagha blog by Victor Kaonga

Other major projects that China has been involved are the construction of a $40-million Parliament building in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe. Others are a five-star hotel; an inter-national conference centre; and a national stadium.

President Bingu wa Mutharika presided over the ground breaking ceremony of the much-talked-about road in 2005 after former President Bakili Muluzi promised the road but never commenced its construction.

Initially, Taiwan was funding the construction but China took over after Malawi dumped the Taiwanese in December 2007.

The construction of the road is expected to be completed next year.

The financial agreement which Malawi and China signed  also includes a K3.1 billion grant for  construction of an agriculture technology demonstration centre in Salima  and  the  second grant is a provision of an interest-free loan worth K1.2 billion  for projects to be identified jointly by the two governments.

The loan facility has a grace period of ten years and will be repaid in ten years, according to Malawi Finance Minister.

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