President Peter Mutharika has said he his government wants to increase electricity supply to at least 1,000 megawatts, from 350 megawatts currently and for private investors to help fund new plants, saying a year after after elections which he hopes to get another five-year mandate, there will be no more power outage.
Malawi’s efforts to build up its mining and manufacturing industries have been constrained by crippling power shortages that result in blackouts of as long as 16 hours a day.
But in an interview with Bloomberg News, Mutharika said his government will have a lasting solution to the problem by next year.
“We hope that by March next year, we will add another 100 megawatts and that will substantially reduce the blackouts,” Mutharika said. “I think by 2020 we will reach a point where we no longer have the blackouts.”
Once there is adequate power, Mutharika expects the mining industry to take off.
The country has a number of substantial deposits of coal, uranium and cobalt that could be tapped, he said. Other industries that are being targeted for more investment include tourism, healthcare and construction.
“If we don’t have other challenges like floods or hunger and other natural catastrophes, I think we should be able to sustain the growth,” he said. “We should be able to reach 6 percent in two or three years.”
President Mutharika is seeking re-election next year May to tackle the challenges of attracting billions of dollars in investment and reducing the economy’s reliance on tobacco.
Mutharika, 78, gets the nod from ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) convention underway in Blantyre from Monday.
With the opposition fragmented and a first-past-the-post election system that awards the presidency to the candidate who gets a plurality of votes, Mutharika is the frontrunner to win the May vote.
Mutharika, an international and constitutional law expert who studied at the University of London and Yale and taught at Rutgers University in New Jersey, told Bloomberg News that he is upbeat to retain his seat.
“People have seen what we have done. I think they will return us for another five years,” he said.
Mutharika said his government took painful steps to stabilize the economy and the currency, the kwacha, and brought inflation down from a peak of 24 percent to 7 percent.
He expects the growth rate to reach as high as 5 percent in 2018 from 4 percent last year and is optimistic the shift in sentiment against emerging markets won’t have a major impact on the $6.2 billion economy. The kwacha is at 725.5 per dollar.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :