Malawi leader says power deal with Mozambique to end blackouts

President Joyce Banda has said it is her government’s determination to resolve power supply issues in the country, saying the signing of the Malawi-Mozambique power interconnection agreement is a big step towards having uninterrupted power supply.

Banda noted that globalization has taught Malawi that the world is like a small village separated by seas, mountains and rivers.

“Therefore it is my government’s obligation that Malawi must never isolate itself from friends and the international community socially, politically and economically,” she said.

President Banda said this in a statement posted on her official Facebook Timeline after she had signed the power supply agreement and other bilateral agreements with Mozambique President Armando Emilio Guebuza.

Armando Emilio Guebuza arrives at Kamuzu International Airport and welcomed by President Banda

Armando Emilio Guebuza arrives at Kamuzu International Airport and welcomed by President Banda

If it comes to fruition, the power interconnection project is likely to ease the frequent power outages Malawi currently experiences and keeping some investors away.

“You will be pleased to hear that I, President Dr Joyce Banda and my counterpart, Mr Armando Guebuza, had bilateral talks here in Malawi on behalf of the two countries which has led us to the signing of an agreement for the Malawi- Mozambique power interconnection project,” Banda said.

Speaking during a press briefing after signing several agreements, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Ephraim Chiume said the deal has two phases to connect electric power from Matambo substation in Tete, Mozambique to Phombeya substation in Balaka and from Balaka to Nacala in Mozambique.

“It goes without saying that the project will improve power availability to people and public institutions as well as to industrial producers and service providers in the two countries,” said Chiume.

President Guebuza arrived in Malawi on Wednesday for a three-day State visit where among other engagements he came to seal the deal for Malawi-Mozambique Power Interconnection Project which had stalled under Malawi’s previous administration.

President Guebuza also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation in Public Security and Immigration, Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation in Environment and Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation in Youth and Sports.

“I will personally ensure that we mobilise resources to be deployed as soon as possible to make sure that the people of Malawi benefit from the bilateral talks I had with the President of Mozambique,” the Malawi leader said.

Once the deal is done, Malawi will pay Mozambique US$480,000 per month for its electricity.

Initiated in 2008, the project failed to take off the ground because former president Bingu wa Mutharika argued that Malawi was too poor to afford the monthly bill.

In January this year the two countries amended the deal to create what analysts are calling a “win-win” situation.

The members of SAPP have created common power grid between their countries and a common market for electricity in the SADC region.

Under the previous deal Malawi was only allowed to import electricity from Mozambique but not export the same if it had excess power.

But in the slightly amended new deal both countries can either import or export to each other depending on excess.

Currently, Malawi is unable to export power because it has a deficit in its generation capacity. The country’s demand stands at 300 megawatts against production of 200.

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