Government secures Middle East loans for new universities

Zambia’s government has said it has secured US$41 million in loans from Middle East financiers for the construction of three universities in the country.

The country’s Minister of Higher Education Professor Nkandu Luo recently told the Zambian parliament that the government has signed loan agreements worth US$41 million with the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (US$4.5 million); the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries Fund (US$10 million); the Kuwait Fund (US$13 million) and the Abu Dhabi Fund (US$13.5 million) for the project.

Luo said while the money would not be adequate to complete the project, the government has secured a pledge of additional funding from the government of Saudi Arabia.

The minister said the additional amount has not been specified because the Saudi government wanted to see the environmental impact assessment report for the project before deciding how much money it would provide.

She said traditional chiefs at three locations where the universities would be located demonstrated commendable leadership by providing huge portions of land needed for the constructions.

The proposed universities include the University College of Science and Mathematics in Nalolo District, the University College of Applied Arts and Commerce in Katete District, and the University College of Science and Technology in Kabompo District.

Luo said the loan funds would be disbursed by the financiers as soon as the procurement processes have been concluded.