Mutharika move to end electricity woes in Malawi: Pushes for coal-fired power plant with China Energy Group

Malawi President.Peter Mutharika seems to be making good use of his time in Beijing,  China where he has gone to attend the 2018 Forum for China-Africa Corporation (FOCAC) as on Thursday, two days before the official opening of the summit, he met Chinese  consortium of companies to discuss energy generation project to build a coal-fired power plant at Kammwamba.

President Mutharika being briefed about the China Energy Engeering Group

Fruitful talks: President Mutharika and Chinese ernegy group boss Wang Jianping

Walking the talk: Malawi leader with Chinese investors on agenda for infrastructure development

CEEC Chairman Wang Jianping with President Mutharika

Chinese invetsors and Malawi government officials during the meeting

Mutharika and his delegations met the Chairperson of the China Energy Engineering Group Ltd (CEEC) the Parent company of the China Gezhouba Group International Engineering Company; Wang Jianping and directors of the company.

Gezhouba Group International Engineering Company is the Chinese company that is to construct  the 300MW coal-fired power plant at Kammwamba in Neno, with a lifespan of 30 years.

Speaking at the high level meeting, President Mutharika briefed the company that he was glad that his government had met all the 14 conditions that were set by the financiers AXIM Bank of China for Malawi to acces the loan for the project which will help  to provide electricity in the country.

Currently, Malawi only generates about 251MW of power and a paltry 10 percent of the country’s population is connected to the power grid of Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom).

Mutharika told the gathering that Malawi is doing well economically but he was certain that once the Kamwamba plant is up and running, Malawi’s economy will grow even much faster.

“We need the extra energy as soon as yesterday. That’s why were very serious about this project. If we have their extra wattage from this project, our economy will perform much better than now,’’ Mutharika emphasised.

Mutharika said shortage of electricity to industries is one of the major challenges Malawians companies and citizens are facing and the situation is slowing down growth.

“These companies are able to make reasonable profits but they dig more on production costs to access other forms of energy imagine, how productive would thy be once this project is finalised,” said the Malawi leader.

In response, the CEEC chairman Wang Jiang updated the Malawi leader that as a company they have also finalised and secured approval for all the two preparatory phases of the project and that their company will soon be on the ground in Malawi to start implementing the project once AXIM Bank of China does its part.

The Chairman assured President Mutharika that his company as excellent delivery capacity such that the project shall be implemented within the project period or even before.

President Mutharika was accompanied to the CEEC headquarters by among others ; Minister of Finance Goodall Gondwe, Minisiter of Trade  Henry Mussa,  Foreign Affairs Minister  Emmanuel Fabiano and others.

The commencement of the project, which will be the biggest investment in the energy sector to take about three years, raises hopes for improved power supply in the country and is critical to attract investments, particularly in the mining sector.

The project is expected to be implemented under the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) model, which is a particular form of contracting arrangement used in big projects where the contractor is responsible for all the activities from design, procurement, construction to commissioning and handover of the project to the end user or owner.

Once operational, the plant would help Malawi to diversify from using hydro power, which of late has proved to be challenging due to low water levels, but also bring a number of advantages.

Energy consultant Grain Malunga, who is also former minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, said completion of the project is critical, arguing that it has potential to improve electricity supply in the country.

“We see the project boosting the energy sector. You may wish to know that the deposits [of coal] are enormous. It is pleasing that the project is taking shape because these are the resources we should have tapped long time ago,” he said.

Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI), which has complained of subdued production due to power deficit, has called for speedy implementation of the project, as power outages have taken a toll on industrial output.

MCCCI chief executive officer Chancellor Kaferapanjira said the private sector is keen to see long-term solutions to electricity problems and developments such as these in the energy sector could improve the business outlook.

Minister of Foreign Affairs  Emmanuel Fabiano said Malawi stands to benefit even more from the bilateral talks the country will hold with China.

“Through the bilateral talks, we expect to see a number of projects that will be negotiated and some of them implemented. As you are aware in the first ten years, we had five projects that were funded by the government of China some of them through concessionary loans and at least one of them as a grant,” explained Fabiano.

He said the President will also hold a number of meetings with different organizations that are operating in China as well as in other countries on the continent with the hope that the Malawi delegation can encourage them to come and invest in Malawi through Foreign Direct Investment.

Among other objectives, the summit intends to take stock of the implementation of the Johannesburg Plan of Action (2016-2018) under which China committed USD 60 billion for economic and infrastructure development in Africa as well as consider the (2019-2021) Beijing Plan of Action.

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Pumbwa episode
Guest
Pumbwa episode

Birds of the same feathers fly together. One day two pumbwas partnered and won the 2014 general elections. The one who came second in the elections became leader of pumbwas in Parliament. The senior bird selected other pumbwas judges, other pumbwas with loud voice became CSO members to champion the welfare of all pumbwas in the country. After four years, one pumbwa calls the other old and decided to make his own nest. By the end of the day all citizery became pumbwas.

Kholowa
Guest
Kholowa

This is the reason some like me are saying iwe peter muthalika ndi finance minister gondwe wakoyo mitu yanu sigwila, zonse mukupanga ndi zotsalila zokhazokha basi. Even kamuzu in his era thought this coal issue is useless and you are eager to invest in that after million assurances that you are ending these black outs by investing in generators that needed fuel that proved to be expensive. God blessed us with the sun for free why not use it and use uranium plants to generate power for sale? Kumenekonso mwina a promiser 145 million eti?

Noxy
Guest

A President mukuyigwila ntchito.osamvera za ana a njoka awa odana ndi chitukuko awa go ahead,Malawi will change forever with this development.

Kalekeni Kanene
Guest
Kalekeni Kanene

Apa alibe nkhani. Chofunika ndi kuchita import power from Mozambique. 220V Switchgear has already been installed dedicated for Malawi at Matambo Substation / Switch Yard at Moatize. Its only waiting for us to act. Whats the use for us to import coal from Mozambique for the proposed Coal fired Chinese Power Station instead of just importing the power directly. South Africa imports part of her Power from Mozambique. If you travel passing Tete you will see two massive High Voltage DC Transmission lines emanating from Songo Switchyard (Caborra Bassa) on their way to South Africa 2000 km. In South Africa… Read more »

Eish!
Guest
Eish!

Good points but a minor correction. The Chinese- supplied coal-fired power plant in Botswana is limping along but it was indeed a band investment. Interconnection is good but Malawi should also have its own capacity, and renewables, especially solar PV, is the way to go. With declining costs of battery storage very soon solar will be dispatchable and the excuse of it not being useful for base-load will be gone. Concentrating Solar (CSP) costs are also declining fast. Storage could also be provided through the hydro system and the interconnection you propose.

Aka
Guest
Aka

Mr President, solar would be about the best in order to serve the environment which is already rebelling against us.

tizanka
Guest
tizanka

Just like centuries gone by, someone will still find something wrong about this and even protest this as well. Chickenhead low IQ Malawians are a shame. Donald trump is pushing for more coal fired projects in the US as we speak, we have use dzuwa to power up all the industries in Malawi, kulibeko dziko lomwe limagwilitsa dzuwa lokha basi

QueenB
Guest
QueenB

Donald Trump is pushing for failing coal industry so that he can get votes from states that used to have coal mines (Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia). However, he has not been successful because it’s a dead industry. No one wants coal energy because it causes lung cancer! If you travel across the US, you can see most states are moving towards solar energy and/or wind energy. Plus your Trump is anti climate change and we care about our environment in Malawi. You must be very ignorant to try to justify coal mining in this 21st century. Our own son… Read more »

Mulomwe
Guest
Mulomwe

Coal powered plants in this day and age when other countries stopped using these plants very long time ago due to environmental issues. “APM yemweyo” ife ayi tamukana. Wogona uyu. 5 years sleeping on the throne.

Ndikunyenyaninyenani Pumbwa Party
Guest

Malawians don’t benefit from the crooked and wicked Chinese. The Chinese have not respect for national laws aimed at protecting Malawians mainly the employment act and the occupational health and safety act.

Frank
Guest
Frank

This is a welcome development news to see malawi transforming and become vibrant in energy sector to see our economy boosting as well which at the end of the day foregein investment will be meaningful to kick start to take its shape across malawi. Where was all this for the past 4 years wish you all best during your fighting endeavor to make your dreams come true for this nation God bless you.

SKC
Guest
SKC

Why you never go for solar Mr President? Sun will be there forever. ngongole zitipweteka kwabasi.

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