Saturday, January 19, 2008

Whats special about Kayelekera

Uranium mining is about to start at Kayelekera. This project has enjoyed massive publicity in both local and international media for different reasons. Other contentions have focused on economic and social benefits. On the contrary, civil organisations have been critical of the Malawi government and Paladin citing environmental hazards. Both arguments are well founded and these issues need to be treated with utmost care to reap the benefits of the mine as well as safeguarding the environment and human life.

What is so special about Kayelekera mine to the Malawi economy? Well i think governement may gain some revenue through royalties and invest in various social services and infrstructure needed to make Malawi even more attractive. Though, the level of infrasture is not very good but the coming of Paladin to invest in the Kayelekera mine is proof to the mining potential that Mlawi has. Kayelekera is giving Malawi an after thought about our predominantly agro-based economy that often relies on on the mercy of the Almighty giving us enough rains if not too much rains. Prices of agriculture goods have been falling in the world due to improved technologies as well as the massive farm subsdies in Europe and the US. Out tobacco shows no hope as we continue fighting the price wars while at the same mosy countries are putting tough legislation on smoking. So maybe Uranium mining is such an opportunity. I wondered why all countries arpund us had some form of a mineral but why was Malawi deprived!

It takes me again to the issue that as country we have not been ambitious. As a result, we have not undertaken serious efforts to diversify from farming. Much has been cheap senseless talk and wrting strategies and documents and pilinh them at capital hill. The Kayelekera mine will expose a human resource gap that exist in this country. This takes me to the University of Malawi which has rarely reviwed its curriculum let alone i ntroduced new courses that are in touch with a global village. Why should we waste our time teaching our children Greek history and Aristotle. This is an age of science and technology and the mindset of our education planners must change. It goes down again to government to invest alot in education and encourage review of programmes in the

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