The Nankumba Peninsula tourism project in Mangochi, one of the $1.4 billion (about K1 trillion) projects being financed by the African Export Import Bank (Afreximbank), is set to change the face of Malawi’s tourism.
On Friday, an Afreximbank delegation, led by the bank’s president Benedict Okey Oramah, met President Peter Mutharika at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe where they discussed progress made on the project which is expected to attract more tourists.
Said Oramah: “We have got the infrastructure project, the travel facilities approved and funds are being mobilised for the work to start. We have identified a leading world class developer for the Nankumba Peninsula Project to develop it in a real world-class project that will change the face of Malawi tourism.”
Last July, the Afreximbank president also visited Malawi and signed a memorandum of understanding with businesspersons with bankable projects.
Oramah, who came with Orascom Development chairperson Samih Sawiris, who is the developer for the project, expressed satisfaction with the pace of implementation of what was agreed on six months ago. About $800 million has already been disbursed so far.
The developer has developed world-class tourism facilities in many countries in the world such as Egypt, in Europe and in the Middle East.
Oramah was optimistic of the possibility of developing a masterplan and a cordial working relationship with government to ensure the vision is realised.
On his part, Sawiris said he had already been to the site and the picture on the ground is quite unique.
He observed that tourism is dependent not only on airports but planes flying in and the availability of hotels.
“Malawi will be very easy to market once we put the infrastructure which is the airport and the hotel. It is a full masterplan,” said Sawiris.
Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Salim Bagus described the bringing in of the developer as a positive step for the project.
He said the development of the masterplan marks the start of the work on the project site.
“After the masterplan, we will roll out the project. Afrexim has already provided funds to prepare that land. Everything is ready on the ground we are just waiting for the masterplan,” said Bagus.
Afrexim funded projects include the Mangochi International Airport, a holiday resort at Cape Maclear, a logistics park in Mangochi, which form part of the Nankumba Pensinsula Project, industrial parks in Blantyre and Lilongwe and a dry port in Liwonde as well as other financial support for the private sector through the Export Development Fund (EDF).
According to a concept note prepared by EDF, the project is expected to change the country’s development architecture. Once completed, the Nankumba Peninsula is expected to create 40 000 jobs and to be a tourism hub in southern Africa.