Malawi in coal-fired power plant MOU with China group: To boost economy

Malawi on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC) to develop a coal-fired power plant at Kam’mwamba in Neno.

Gondwe and the Chinese Amb,to Malawi,HE.Mr.Zhang Qingyang during the signing ceremony at Capital Hill - Pic by Stanley Makuti

Gondwe and the Chinese diplomatZhang Qingyang – Pic by Stanley Makuti

The 300-megawatt power plant is to be implemented at a cost of $600 million and will be the largest single development project Malawi has undertaken since it gained independence in 1964.

Exim Bank of China will be the major financier of the project, while the Malawi Government will also contribute.

Finance and Economic Development Minister, Goodall Gondwe, signed the MOU on behalf of the Malawi Government, while CGGC president Lv Zexiang, signed on behalf of his company at a ceremony held in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Speaking during the signing ceremony, Gondwe said Malawi was one of the poorest countries in the world and that a project of such magnitude would help to move it out of poverty.

“The aim of the government is that before we leave, Malawi should not be called poor,” he said. “This project will have a huge impact on the economy. It will double the amount of electricity.”

Gondwe said Malawi had one of the lowest access to electricity in the world, and expressed the hope that with the planned fire-powered plant, there would be improvement in electricity supply.

Malawi is currently experiencing power cuts on a daily basis, mainly due to dwindling water levels in the Shire River, the country’s main source of power supply.

“We thank you for joining with us to undertake the biggest project we have ever done,” Gondwe told Lv (pronounced Lyu). “The experience we have is that Chinese do things fast and with little fuss.”

He said President Peter Mutharika was “extremely thankful” to the Chinese government, adding that the Malawi government would fulfill every responsibility it shouldered in relation to the project.

In his remarks, Lv described the Kam’mwamba coal-fired power plant as a very important project to the people of Malawi and government, saying it would solve the problem of power shortage in the country.

“We wish that the project can start in the first few months of 2016,” Lv said, speaking through an interpreter.

He said CGGC had taken “some steps to make the project happen” and that China’s Exim Bank was very positive “with the project.”

CGGC, according to its brochure, is China’s number one water conservancy and hydropower brand and is today renowned both at home and abroad for its outstanding achievements in large-scale project construction.

It is CGGC that carried out the famous the multibillion billion dollar, Three Gorges Water Conservancy in Yichang, Hubei Province, China, from 1993 to 2009 that generates 22,500 megawatts of electricity.

Malawi has benefited immensely from China since it cut off 41 years of ties with Taiwan in 1997 and established diplomatic relations with mainland China.

China regards Taiwan as part of it and has over the years tried to isolate the island diplomatically by offering incentives to its allies.

China has over the past eight years given Malawi billions of kwacha for implementation of huge infrastructure projects such as parliament building in Lilongwe, the Karonga-Chitipa Road, University of Science and Technology in Thyolo, Bingu International Conference Centre and the Bingu Stadium in Lilongwe which is nearing completion.

The MOU signing ceremony took place ahead of the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit which starts in Johannesburg on Friday.

Mutharika, who arrives in South Africa on Friday from the UK, will be among several African Heads of State and Government expected to attend the meeting, the first FOCAC summit on the continent.

FOCAC is an official forum between China and the states of Africa. It was established in 2000 to promote bilateral ties and cooperation between China and Africa through dialogue.

The theme for the Johannesburg FOCAC summit is ‘Africa-China Progressing Together: Win-Win cooperation for Common Development’.-Mana


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A dokotala
It’s really good progress coming up with measures to solve power issues currently facing the country, however, this should not be at all costs. I hope through consideration has been made as regards potential environmental hazards as a result of such a coal mining plant. It would be interesting to know what measures are put in place to protect the environment, the land, the local population of the area, and the surrounding areas from potential polluting effects of such a plant. The hazardous effects of such a plant can be seen even generations to come among others in terms of… Read more »
thumbwe man

Abale coal we have it in the north, Tete…….lets clap hands pa zinazi. This project anayambisatu ndi AMAYI musati nyo nyo nyo

Alexander Liwana ,RSA
Alexander Liwana ,RSA

This is a positive development and keep it up APM and your company.95 per cent of electricity here in South Africa is produced from coal produced here in South Africa and some part of Botswana.Malawi has huge reserves of coal in the Northern region as well as in Chikwawa.


By Far The Largest Single Project Since Independence 1964~$600million For Nneno Plant Lol! Lol!. “what Wise Old Men See When They Lay,young Noisy Idiots Cannot See Even If They Climb A Tree” Meaning; In 2007 When The Incumbent Then ( Prof. Bingu Wa Mutharika- Lord Of Mercy),made A Historical 41year Turning Point From Taipei To Beijing,shallow Pesmistic Minds Demonised Him. Look Nowoo Who’s To Blame,no,let Us Make Merry For The Genesis Of Bye Bye Bye Blackouts. Ndi Mai Malawi!!!


Great effort. How much coal will we import? At what price? Do we have the forex? Certainly no…..Can we revamp the greener hydro power? Where will the forex for the coal come from. ..have we lined any import substitution or exporting industries to justify allocation of forex. ..

Alex Likoswe

Yes, but let us use coal from Chikwawa. We too much coal there. Infact it is a belt from Tete

Concerned Citizen

This is very positive. All other issues can be discussed later.

Our green sources of energy are letting us down. Industry is really suffering. The least we can do is add alternative power sources to the national grid and even export power instead of always importing.

Next on the cards needs to be the revamping of distribution at ESCOM as they are currently failing to extend the national grid to the rural areas. Serious targets should be set by MERA and which should cost the top people their jobs if not met.

Walimba Mbale

The best is coming out of this project the country needs people who can change things leaders of hope DPP we pray God to bless u and the President


Keep on fire burning Mr Gondwe. Such devolopment is very important as investors can’t establish their businesses in a country where there is frequent power cut.



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