China invests $500m for electricity in Malawi – report

The Chinese government is planning to invest a whooping $500 million in a thermal energy generation project in Malawi which if completed would produce 1,000 megawatts of electricity for the country.

This will be a relief to Malawi as it is currently producing only 280 megawatts courtesy of Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) hydro power stations.

According to  Business Times newspaper, a Chinese state owned company, Gezhouba Group Corporation would meet all financial liabilities of the project which will constructed around Zalewa in Mwanza district near the railway line being constructed by Brazilian owned Vale Mining Company.

Chilumpha: Signed the deal

According to the paper, the site is strategically positioned as it would enable the plant access coal supplies from Moatize in Mozambique.

Vale is constructing and rehabilitating the railway line through Malawi for easy transportation of its coal from Tete through Malawi to Beira for shipment to overseas markets.

Meanwhile, the paper has also revealed that preliminary agreement for the project has already been signed with Malawian government through the energy and mining minster Dr. Cassim Chilumpha.

The paper further says, if all goes according to plan then Malawi would have the plant ready by 2015.

The 1,000 megawatts is by far the country’s current demand of 300 megawatts, a development said to be the beginning of Malawi’s economic turnaround as power outage will completely be history.

It is reported that Malawian industry losses about K62 billion annually in business through production downturns in times of blackouts.

Meanwhile, the news has excited the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) chief executive officer Allexon Chiwaya is quoted saying that the thermal power plant will develop the country as Malawi would have capacity to export power in the region.

He was however, non committal on whether the power will be distributed directly to the consumers and companies by the firm or through Escom.

“We are still exploring the best distribution modalities of power from the project,” said Chiwaya.

He added that once the plant starts to generate power then Escom would have an ample time to shut down its archaic hydro plants and overhaul them.

The project meanwhile has been described as massive turnaround and most significant so far to be unveiled by the Chinese since President Mrs. Joyce Banda’s ascendancy to office.

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