Prof. Tanko Mouhamadou hands over the signed agreement to Finance Minister, Sosten Gwengwe
* To construct M’mbelwa University to build the nation’s capacity in the production and management of animal resources
* To increase our electricity generation capacity to 1000MW
* To build 25-story twin towers at Capital Hill to house modern offices for Government
* To build new cities and construction of a Medical City in Chileka, Blantyre, with satellites in Lilongwe and Mzuzu
* To move the country’s agriculture away from subsistence and transition to agro- industrialization
* By constructing an agro-processing plant at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources
* To diversify the economy and establish Malawi as a mining giant to construct a Geology and Mining Centre at Mzuzu University
* And a Science & Technology Centre at Malawi University of Science & Technology (MUST)
By Duncan Mlanjira
President Lazarus Chakwera says Christmas has come early for Malawi when he signed a cooperation agreement with Belgium’s BRIDGIN Foundation, worth US$6.85 billion to be invested into various projects over the next three to four years.
The grant is equivalent to K7 trillion a huge funding ever received in the history of the nation, which is more than twice the current annual national budget.
“Never in the history of this nation has there been a developmental program as momentous as the one we are embarking on today with the BRIDGIN Foundation,” Chakwera said at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe on Monday morning.
“This year, heaven has smiled on us. What the BRIDGIN Foundation has done here is not just an act of kindness and generosity, but also an act of trust. What they have done is to trust that I really mean business when I say in speech after speech what I am doing and what I want to do to make Malawi a better place for Malawians.
“When I said that we will construct M’mbelwa University, which will build our nation’s capacity in the production and management of animal resources, some laughed and said it was an empty speech, but the Bridgin Foundation heard my vision that day, and today we are signing an agreement that includes funding for that project.
“When I said that we will increase our electricity generation capacity to 1000MW, some mocked and said it was an empty speech, but the Bridgin Foundation heard that vision, and today we are signing an agreement with resources that will make that a reality.
“When I said that we will build 25-story twin towers at Capital Hill to house modern offices for Government, some laughed and said it was an empty speech, but the Bridgin Foundation heard that vision and today have brought the resources for us to run with it.
“When I said that we will begin to build new cities, some laughed and said it was an empty speech, but the Bridgin Foundation heard that vision and now have come to sign an agreement that includes funding for the construction of a Medical City in Chileka, Blantyre, with satellites in Lilongwe and Mzuzu.”
The President further said the agreement is set to move the country’s agriculture “away from subsistence and transition to agro- industrialization”, saying the funds from the agreement “for the construction of an agro-processing plant at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, which will also manufacture fertilizer for our farmers”.
He also said the agreement is also on his “vision to diversify the economy and establish Malawi as a mining giant to construct a Geology and Mining Centre at Mzuzu University, and a Science and Technology Centre at Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST)”.
“There is no region of Malawi that will not benefit from this grant. There is no region of Malawi that will not have projects from this grant. There is no political party whose members will not benefit from the projects to be financed by this grant.
“For this reason, today is a day of celebration for every Malawian. It is a day of celebration for Malawi’s young people and elders. It is a day of celebration for Malawi’s men and women.”
He also said this was a momentous agreement for all “who have pushed to restore our standing with institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, as well as our standing with development partners, because it is that work that gives investors like the Bridgin Foundation confidence that their seed is being planted in safe soil”.
“I am overjoyed that all that work has finally paid off. Now that we are here, all I want to say is thank you. To the leadership of RUFORUM for installing me as Champion for Higher Education over a year ago, thus opening the doors that led me to the BRIDGIN Foundation, I say thank you.
“To the Bridgin Foundation, under the leadership of Prof. Tanko Mouhamadou, I say thank you. I am especially grateful for your vision in ensuring that the money that BRIDGIN Foundation will invest into the identified projects under this cooperation, will not create any repayment obligation on the part of the Government.
“The revenue that BRIDGIN will generate from its investment into the identified projects will be invested back into projects that will contribute to meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
“This means no money will leave Malawi in the form of repatriation of earnings or debt repayment as a result of this cooperation. This is a real game changer, and I expect the relevant Ministries to push all cylinders on the implementation, and if anyone tries to look for ways of personally benefitting from these projects through corrupt means, I will deal with them.
“The time for selfish people using government programs to fund side deals for themselves is past. This is a time to work for the good of Malawians. Period.”
BRIDGIN Foundation’s website says it is incorporated in accordance with the laws of the Kingdom of Belgium operating as Bank for International Settlement; EU directive on Finance and EU regulations & directives.
It’s strategy is articulated around three main pillars — resources, education and culture and to realise it’s Mission, BRIDGIN “sets a rigorous governance and compliance framework for the effective collaboration between projects’ stakeholders— government, Western solution providers, auditing and management firms, local subcontractors and research centres & universities”.
“BRIDGIN Foundation provides funds exclusively for public investments on a public-private partnership (PPP) model. Consequently, contacts are initiated by diplomatic of government channels only,” says the website.
Zambia, Uganda and Nigeria are other African country’s that have benefited from agreements with BRIDGIN Foundation.