China-funded stadium inaugurated in Malawi

Lilongwe (Malawi), Jan 30 (IANS) A China-funded state-of-the-art stadium has been inaugurated in Malawi capital Lilongwe, adding to the slew of key infrastructure projects that Beijing has undertaken in Africa.

The US $70 million Bingu National Stadium was officially opened by President Peter Mutharika before tens of thousands of Malawians here last week, Xinhua news agency reported.

The stadium is one of the most imposing infrastructures funded by the Chinese government in the country, located in southeastern Africa, alongside a new Parliament building, a park with a 12-storey 5-star hotel, an international convention centre and 14 opulent presidential villas in Lilongwe.

Beijing is also building a Malawi University of Science and Technology.

Mutharika thanked the Chinese government for the continued support to Malawi and dubbed China as a “brother and a friend indeed”.

The Malawi leader described Malawi as the Chinese people’s home in Africa and said that they (Chinese) were all welcome to the southern African country at any time.

“Feel free in the country of your brothers and sisters: Malawi is your home in Africa,” said Mutharika.

Chinese Ambassador to Malawi Wang Shiting said in his remarks that his government would continue to support Malawi and Africa.

Malawi is not the only country where China is engaged in building infrastructure. It is building roads, railways and telecom systems in many of the countries in Africa.

China is eyeing Africa to tap into its vast natural resources with many of the state-owned companies investing in the continent. Last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a $60 billion loan and aid package to Africa.

The continent is already the biggest trading partner of China. More than 1 million Chinese, most of them labourers and traders, have moved to the continent in the past decade.

India has also been involved in infrastructure building in Africa, but on a much lower scale. India focuses its engagement with Africa in the form of capacity building and providing training, which fetches it goodwill.

In 2014, China’s trade with Africa stood at $200 billion, while trade between India and Africa is at $70 billion.