Malawi President seeks Chinese intervention on electricity woes

In an effort to address Malawi’s historical power woes, President Peter Mutharika has appealed to Chiene President Xi Jinping for investment in electricity generation in the country.

President Mutharika seeks China's president Xi Jinping support

President Mutharika seeks China’s president Xi Jinping support

Malawi’s current electricity demand is projected to be in the region 400 MW with the expected rise to 1000MW by year 2020 against the installed power generation capacity of 351.75MW, which is also riddled with intermittent power supply as a result of ageing generation, transmission and distribution equipment and environmental effects on the Shire River where the country sources up to 98% of electricity.

A rapidly rising population and the slow rate of connection means the “electricity deficit” continues to grow.

Even having a connection is not a guarantee of power. You can hear phrases like “kuzima zima”, refering to the on-again, off-again  “load shedding”  “process, where electricity is rationed to cope with overwhelming demand.

President Mutharika, according to China’s director general of African Affairs Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lin Songtian, always sends messages to the President of China on electricity generation.

“It is an urgent thing for him [Mutharika]. If Malawi is to attract investors, it needs electricity,” said Lin to a contingent of Malawian journalists on a visit to the country.

China needs a feasibility study first before it comes in to assist the country, Lin said.

He said China has encouraged a Chinese company to conduct a feasibility study on Kammwamba Coal Fired Power Plant project which is expected to generate about 300 megawatts(MW).

“China is ready for the project and it is one of its priority areas to help in electricity generation. We have already approached a reputable Chinese company called Three Gorges Corp to look at possibilities to invest in Malawi,” said Lin.

Three Gorges is currently one of the companies bidding for a major stake in Brazil’s fourth largest energy generator Santo Antonio Energia SA, according to an article in the China Daily.

According to Lin, the Chinese Government has already proposed to one of its banks to support the project at Kammwamba.

“China will do its best to push for the project. The company is so keen to work on it,” he said.

The US Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) commited US$ 300m to help in the country’s power generation.

The African Development Bank (AfDB), in partnership with the Malawi government, is also undertaking feasibility studies on a number of rivers in the country to develop other sources of energy to address perennial power outages.

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8 thoughts on “Malawi President seeks Chinese intervention on electricity woes”

  1. CONCERNED CITIZEN says:

    How is the design of the water intake source for our hydro power systems ? Are there no reservoirs to contain the water and have a controlied mechanism for releasing the water supplying the turbines? Google Cahora bassa hydro. and see how others did it.

  2. CHIKUTUMBWE says:

    YOU MEAN GVERNMENT WANTS TO CARRY OUT FEASIBILITY STUDIES NOW? FOR HOW LONG HAVE WE BEEN HAVING THESEBLACKOUTS. WE ARE NOT SERIOUS AS A COUNYTRY. MALAWI SHOULD HAVE FUNDED ITS OWN FEASIBILITY STUDIES AND THEN ASK PARNERS TO HELP WITH CONSTRUCTION.

    IT APPEARS BLACK-OUTS ARE HERE TO STAY.

  3. Observer says:

    I sometimes fail to understand the way ESCOM is giving excuses. They say water level is down due to low rainfall in the south while North had the highest rainfall which resulted into massive inflow of water……………….I suppose there is a Department of foreseeing such issues and do necessary planning……This is the waist loading shedding in the history of this country.Government should immediately do something with the Management of this state firm.

  4. Mmalawi says:

    1. How did Amayi manage to keep electricity on those few years she was in power?

    2. Are we really sure that the only way to change the status quo is to involve outside influences (Chinese)?

    3. Is this problem due to lack of funds or mismanagement on the funds that this institution gets hold of and also the process of procurement of materials etc from their suppliers ( relative of some bosses there)? Escom is known for overappeasing their bosses in terms of their benefits (cars, residents, allowances) if they considerably review this would they not be able to get back to the escom we used to know?

    In all honesty i challenge PETER MUNTHARIKA, SAULOS CHILIMA AND THEIR CRONIES, ALL and I mean ALL problems this country is facing can end if we stop stealing, corruption, jealous and just thinking of our now pockets families and side baes. And we focus on the future of this country and what we will leave for our children.

    Even though Kamuzu didn’t have any known children his legacy still lives on but since 1994 we’ve got nothing substantial to show for.

    1. Low quality of education
    2.complacent leadership.
    3. The worst public service every this country has ever experienced ( water electricity,security) and even the mindest of most millennial

    What did our leadership doing? Kodi tizingodalira azungu ndi atchaina basi? Patokha sitingakwanitse titangosiya kuba and think of the future and comfortable condition for all Malawians?

  5. Limbani says:

    We need US$2 Billion to construct a power station that can generate 1000 Megawatts.
    And if the investors are gonna come in,please they should construct a “PUMPED STORAGE HYDRO ELECTRICITY PLANT”. We don’t want the water level is too low excuses.And i think most of the technicians at ESCOM are not qualified.Zolembana ntchito pa ubale zithe! VIMALE!!!!!

  6. John Black says:

    Just a few years ago Escom received a huge grant of US 325,000,000. The money was supposed to ease electricity woes. But the situation is worse than ever. It is not money we need to improve Escom. We need accountability and a fight against incompetence, graft, corruption and inefficiency.

  7. shredder says:

    Koma magetsi okha zafikapo like we are in the bundus please do something

  8. Chemwali chimwene says:

    Last time we were told the govt had some investors for electricity, what happened?

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