Malawi, Tanzania agree to develop Songwe River basin into economic hub

Malawi government and the United Republic of Tanzania have agreed to jointly use the Songwe river in developing  electricity power plants, irrigation schemes and together combat climate change.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture Aggrey Massi and Tanznanian minister exchange MOU on Songwe River Basin at BICC- pic by Lisa Vintulla

Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe confer with Tanzanian minister of water on Songwe River Basin-pic by Lisa Vintulla

This follows fruitful discussions the two countries held on the Songwe River Basin Development Program (SRBDP) at the Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe.

Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Goodall Gondwe while officially opening the Donors’ Conference on the Songwe River Basin Development Program (SRBDP) Thursday  said Malawi government was  certainly going to get some money from the African Development Bank (AfDB) as well as the private investors who he believed were ready to take part particularly in the irrigation component.

“This is a helpful programme for Malawi however, we will monitor its progress closely and invest desirably,” said Gondwe.

Tanzania’s Leader of Delegation, Minister of Water and Irrigation, Eng. Gerson Hosea Lwenge said the organized donors’ conference helped in harnessing the development of the Songwe River Basin.

Lwenge said every year people along the basin have been experiencing flash foods with more than 100,000 being displaced.

He then said investing in the region through the SRBDP raises chances of addressing the flooding problem.

“First of all, we will have to construct a dam which will be a multipurpose dam. We hope that from this dam we will be producing hydro-power and developing irrigation schemes.

“We have so many things in common and this programme is going to benefit people from both countries,” said Lwenge.

The project is expected to cost over US$829 million (about MK580 Billion) and it will be shared equally.

African Development Bank (AfDB) Resident Representative, Dr Andrew Mwaba said the Bank is committed to financing the SRBDP.

“What I can say is that as a Bank we are ready to provide financial resources for the commencement of the project,” he said.

The SRBDP has three phases; the first one being the feasibility study, followed by detailed designing while thirdly will be the actual construction of the dam. The two phases were already carried out an indication of good progress.

Meanwhile, AfDB has pledged US$72million to kick start the third phase of the project.

During the donors’ conference the two governments singed the Memorandum of Understanding for the Phase three of the SRBDP and the convention to establish the Songwe River Basin Commission (SRBC).

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2 thoughts on “Malawi, Tanzania agree to develop Songwe River basin into economic hub”

  1. Kanonono says:

    It is encouraging to note that Malawi and Tanzania and finally speaking about development. The two countries have a lot to benefit from each other. In fact, development-minded people in both countries would surely love to hear about what their leaders are doing to grow their economies than wasting their precious time on the unproductive Lake Malawi/Nyasa dispute. Malawi needs Tanzania and Tanzania needs Malawi.

    Apart from being neighbours, people from two countries share a lot in common. You will need to be a genius to differentiate a Ngonde from Karonga and a Sukwa or a Ndali from Chitipa from his/her Nyiha and Nyakyusa counterpart in Tanzania’s Songwe and Mbeya regions.

    Similarly, if you move around Lake Malawi/Nyasa, you will realize that the Tumbukas, Tongas and Nyanjas of Nkhata-Bay and Likoma speak almost the same language as the Nyasas and Mandas of Ruvuma in Tanzania while the Yaos of Mtwara in Tanzania speak the same Yao as one that is spoken by the Yaos of Machinga and Mangochi in Malawi as well as those from Rovuma in Mozambique.

    In short therefore, people around the lake have always been one and to the sane ones in these areas, any misunderstanding between Tanzania and Malawi over the water that they have all enjoyed for decades is pure nonsense. The water belong to all of them and no government can change. They are relatives and they have always been part of that mass of water.

    Unfortunately, most of the nasty comments on Nyasa Times and on other platforms are made by people who are completely ignorant about this truth. Someone who lives in Dar es Salaam, Blantyre, Mwanza, Arusha, Zomba, Dodoma and Lilongwe cannot make an intelligent decision about Lake Nyasa/Malawi without finding time for a fact-finding mission on how people live around the lake.

    If APM and JPM can decide to jointly move around the areas and see how people live and depend on one another in these areas, they will surely come back with a completely different opinion on what needs to be done. They may not even need someone to mediate. Their people need development and not warmongering statements. In fact, they should now be discussing ways of joining their countries to form one huge nation instead of discussing disunity.

  2. winston msowoya says:

    Bravo Malawi and Tanzania for the agreement to use Songwe -basin to the economic advantages of the both sister countries.Forget the fight over lake Nyasa/lake Malawi , because the LAKE belongs to both countries and Africa.There are two big lakes in East Africa(Tanzania,Uganda and Kenya) and these lakes are believed to have a great amount of oil,but the people and leaders of these three countries,have declined to destroy the lakes in search of dirty oil that would only benefit the ruling clique.For your information,there are thousands of Malawians fishing in Lake Tanganyika without legal documents and the Tanzanian authority,knows about that,but turned a blind eye as Malawians are Africans like Tanzanians.This is what Malawians must bear in mind that Lake Nyasa also belongs to other Africans,afterall,the lake was created by God for mankind and so leave it alone,but if you use force,you will meet force.

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