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The Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) on June 29, 2017, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining aimed at collaborating in areas of gas and oil.
The Malawi Government is in the process of developing the petroleum sector, especially the gas and oil industry, through policy review and development, research and capacity development of personnel.
This is in line with Government’s plans to diversify the national economy from heavy reliance on tobacco which has lately not been performing to expected standards.
“As such, we wanted to partner with an institution of higher learning so that we can collaborate in the areas of research, policy review and development but also training of experts in various areas of mining such as exploration, law, geology and many others. The desire is to have local personnel to handle such important roles,” said the Ministry’s Director of Finance and Administration Gusto Mabvuto who represented the Principal Secretary, Patrick Matanda.
Mabvuto described the MoU signing as a landmark in as far as developing the country’s oil and gas sector is concerned.
“We were supposed to have this long time back but things did not work out. As such, we will have to move with speed to ensure that we implement the agreement irrespective of the challenges we will meet along the way. Fortunately, we have trust in MUST and we know they are committed to this. We will soon start meetings to concretise the agreement.
In her remarks, MUST Vice Chancellor Professor Address Malata said in line with the agreement, the University will from next year introduce a Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Studies degree programme to focus on oil and gas exploration.
She said the programme will be in additional to working hand in hand and sharing of techniques on advancing oil and gas.
“As an institution, we want to be doing things differently in coming up with programmes that are relevant and in line with government’s development agenda. The Ministry saw that there are existing gaps in the oil and gas sector that need experts to review the act and formulate policies. For that to succeed, we need well trained experts. So together with the Ministry, we are working on a curriculum for the course which we are introducing next year,” said Professor Malata soon after the MoU signing ceremony.
The Malawi Government identified the oil and gas sector as one of its priority areas for the country’s economic growth, apart from tourism, mining and other sectors.
At the Ministry, the MoU will be implemented by the Department of Mines while at MUST, the Ndata School of Climate and Earth Sciences will be in charge.