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.
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.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :