MALAWI: President donates land for science university

Malawi and China have launched construction of a science university, after China made available a bank loan and Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika (pictured) donated his farmland to the higher education institution.

As previously reported in University World News, China's Export and Import bank has provided a US$80 million loan facility, with a repayment period of 20 years and a grace period of five years.

Officially launching construction of the Malawi University of Science and Technology earlier this month, the president in a speech paid tribute to China for making the loan facility available.

He said it was a new milestone in Malawi's quest to promote education as a means of enhancing development and economic growth.

"Malawi can hardly achieve any progress unless it learns to develop, research, adapt and harness science and technology," said the president.

The science university is being constructed in Ndata Estate, which is Mutharika's own property, bought specifically "to create a new space for education of my people".

The university will be run by the state but Mutharika said he was pleased to donate the more than 263 hectares of land for its establishment. The president has also designed plans for the university's main buildings. More than 300 houses are to be built on the campus.

The university land is bordered by the Lichenza River, which flows throughout the year. A large dam currently under construction will also provide water for the campus and local schools and villages. The university is linked to Mozambique and Zimbabwe by a railway line, which also connects to South Africa.

According to the president, the Malawi University of Science and Technology "will become an ideal place for learning".

He added that the institution intended teaching 'rare' courses through its structures: the Malawi institute of technology will include structural engineering; the school of climate and earth sciences will offer climatology and ecology; and the African culture and heritage school will teach African traditional democracy and good government.

There will also be a teaching hospital. Mutharika said: "The academy of medical sciences will open up new opportunities...research into HIV and Aids, tuberculosis, microbiology and parasitory [diseases], African traditional medicines, cancer physiology and mutation, and bone marrow sciences."

The Chinese Ambassor to Malawi Pan Hejun said his country attached great importance to the Malawian project, which is being undertaken by Chinese contractors. He said it would offer "advanced facilities".