The government of Saudi Arabia has approved a US$80 million loan that will finance the expansion of the University of the West Indies Five Islands Campus (UWI FIC).
The announcement came from Prime Minister Gaston Browne who reported that the loan’s approval was communicated to him on Friday.
“We now have the formal approval of the loan for US$80 million, or EC$216 million, to build out the UWI FIC,” the prime minister revealed on Saturday’s Browne and Browne Show on Pointe FM.
Several of the architectural drawings were revealed during the programme, which according to PM Browne, have been sent off to the Saudi government for their review and approval.
“These are the framework designs we sent off to the Saudi government and they have bought into the initiative and we indicated to them that we not only educating our own people, but we will be also providing one of the best tertiary level educational institution in the Caribbean region to improve the academic skills of our people,” he said.
The Antigua and Barbuda government has been in talks for several months with the Saudi Fund seeking financing for the expansion of the university’s campus.
As part of the negotiations, a team from Saudi Arabia visited the island earlier in the year to meet with Education Minister, Daryll Matthew, and UWI FIC officials.
The expansion of UWI FIC will include additional administrative units and classrooms, an amphitheater, housing for students and faculty, sports facilities including an international standard cricket ground and other ancillary units necessary for the proper function of the university.
At a town hall meeting two weeks ago, Minister Matthew announced that the expansion envisioned will complete the transformation of the landscape of the Five Islands community.