Malawi has signed a memorandum of understanding with Tanzania government on Songwe River Basin Development Programme (SRBD).
The Songwe River defines the boundary between Malawi and Tanzania before it runs into Lake Malawi.
For many years now, the Songwe, which defines the border between Malawi and Tanzania, has been associated with a boundary predicament between the two countries.
The river’s instability, flooding, and constant change of course as it meanders to Lake Malawi nevertheless has been a source of irritation and concern to authorities in both countries.
Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development George Chaponda has said the Songwe River Basin Development Programme is a welcome development as it bring synergies, expertise, and local knowledge between various stakeholders in both Malawi and Tanzania to address conservation of the Songwe River catchment and sustainable livelihoods for communities living in the catchment
Chaponda was speaking soon after returning to Mbeya, Tanzania where he attended the meeting to discuss implementations of SRBD Program.
“I was in Tanzania where I attended the council of minister’s meeting between Government of Malawi and the Government of Tanzania on the Songwe river basin development program. During the meeting, we discussed at length on how the program will be implemented,” said Chaponda.
Tanzania was represented by Minister of Water and Irrigation, Gerson Lwenga.
Chaponda said during the meeting the Secretariat led by Permanent Secretaries of the two countries gave briefs on the SRBDP covering phases 1 and 2 discussed and agreed upon the draft of MOU between Lilongwe and Dar re Salam for phase 3 which is the construction phase.
“The highlight was the endorsement of a declaration on the project by the two countries it reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen bilateral collaboration and cooperation in particular the urgent need to implement phase 3 Of SRBDP,” said the Chaponda.
According to the minister, the two countries are building on the strategic programs initiated to address the challenges on access to water and sanitation, economic development and environmental management.
First phase of the program was done in 2001 it was feasibility study.
Currently the two countries ate working to sustain efforts in mobilizing financial resources from international development partners.
The projects want to address a number of core issues such as sustainable fisheries, water resources management, and capacity building.
Malawi and Tanzania have contributed close to 9 million Euros.
The Minister said the overall goal of project is to contribute to economic growth, reduced poverty, improved health, better living conditions, and enhanced food and energy security for the people in the Songwe Basin as well as economic development of the two countries.
According to Chaponda, its objectives are to assist the two countries creating a long-term strategic framework, investment plans, and enabling environment for basin-wide socio-economic development based on joint management of the shared waters.
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