The state-of-the-art 40,000 seater stadium project in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe has received a boost after the Governments of Malawi and China have signed a framework agreement on provision of concessional loan on the construction of the facility.
The new sports arena billed to be of high-tech Olympic standard, is expected to be completed in two years.
China will provide the Malawi government a loan amounting to US$ 70 million – repayable in 20 years including a grace period of seven years, and an annual interest rate of two percent – for the implementation of the Malawi national stadium project, said Minister of Finance Dr Ken Lipenga after signing the framework agreement in Lilongwe.
Malawi Parliament authorized the government to go ahead and borrow the funds .
Lipenga said the construction of the stadium is expected to start “after the completion of the Malawi University of science and technology which is being constructed in Thyolo.”
Chinese ambassador Pan Hejun said both the governments of Malawi and China were working hard to make sure that the project is implemented.
He said the stadium would be able to host all kinds of sporting disciplines in Malawi and would have a standard natural grass football area and 10 synthetic tracks.
Minister of Sports, Enock Chihana said the construction of the new stadium will give Malawi an opportunity to host international marches.
“Malawi needs more sports infrastructure and the stadium to be constructed by the Chinese is just one of them,” said Chihana.
Earlier this year, the late Bingu wa Mutharika government announced that it had decided to have the stadium built in Blantyre because Lilongwe already has a number of development projects funded by the Chinese Government.
The move sparked controversy as other quarters, including some members of Parliament, protested, arguing that Blantyre already has the giant Kamuzu Stadium, which only needs to be refurbished.
But the Joyce Banda administration moved the project back to Lilongwe where a foundation stone was laid.