Malawi is one of the beneficiary countries of the World Bank’s $150 million (about K104 billion) project to boost skilled workforce to work in fast-growing sectors such as mining, energy and telecommunications.
Under what is called Higher Education Centres of Excellence Project for Africa, Malawi will receive funding for advanced specialised studies in science and technology, engineering and mathematics as well as in agriculture and health.
Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development spokesperson Nations Msowoya, in an interview on Wednesday, said the project will start later this year and will be implemented in 19 universities in Africa, including Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) and the College of Medicine in Blantyre.
“The project will reduce the problem of having too few skilled workers in Africa’s extractive industries, which has led to minerals being exported without value addition.
“This project will support the recipients to promote regional specialisation among participating universities in areas that address regional challenges and strengthen the capacities of these universities to deliver quality training and applied research,” he said.
While not disclosing how much Malawi will receive, Msowoya said the country qualified after applying to the Bretton Wood institution when it called for expression of interest last year.
A statement from the World Bank said Africa faces a serious shortage of skilled workers in extractive industries, energy, water and infrastructure as well as in the fields of health and telecommunications; hence, the need to train more people.
Geo Mining Sevices managing director Grain Malunga, who is also former Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, said the World Bank is complementing what they have been doing all along as regards building capacity in the mining sector through the Mining Growth and Support Project.
“The Mining and Growth Support Project has proved that Malawi has immense potential in the mining sector, but lacks well-trained expertise which can help value add mineral resources.
“So, if we have highly trained experts in mining, Africa can minimise losses that come due lack of knowledge in minerals,” he said.
The World Bank financed Africa Centres of Excellence (ACEs) offer a regionally integrated way to increase high-quality research and development services. n