AUTHOR: Duncan Mlanjira - Nyasa Times
President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, who arrived in the country on Monday, joined his host counterpart President Lazarus Chakwera to launch the construction works for Mozambique-Malawi power transmission interconnection project at Phombeya in Balaka District on Tuesday
Construction of the interconnection project, from which Malawi is expected to be supplied with 50 megawatts of power, includes construction of 400KV Matambo substation in Tete, Mozambique and 218km of transmission lines from that source into Malawi.
The transmission lines will be 142km from Matambo substation and 76km into Malawi to Phombeya passing through Mwanza and Neno Districts -- expected to be completed in 2023.
Realization of this project translates to improved access to electricity supply bin Malawi at 50MW at initial stage with some future potential to increase.
according to the Integrated Resource Plan of 2017, peak electricity demand will be 1,860MW by 2030 yet currently Malawi's installed electricity generation capacity is hovering at 50MW.
The objectives of the interconnection project include to contribute economic growth of the region through sustainable power access by integrating Malawi electricity market to the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) in order to balance power deficit through regional power trading.
Phase 1 of the project included technical and economic feasibility study that was completed in 2017, project definition and scope and environmental and social impact assessment that was completed in 2019.
In his remarks, President Chakwera said -- like the railway rehabilitation project that the two countries have embarked on to connect Malawi to the Sena Line across the border from Vila Nova de Fronteira to Marka, "this interconnection project is yet another milestone in the linkages between our two nations.
He reminded Nyusi, that during his visit to Songo Province in Mozambique last year, Chakwera was privileged to tour the Cabora Bassa Dam which is the hub of the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP).
"It was at that time that we agreed to hold this joint ceremony launching the construction of the electricity transmission line for Malawi-Mozambique Interconnection.
"I am,therefore, glad to see this coming to pass as a step in the direction of integrating infrastructure across SADC for sustainable economic development."
Je added that the project aims at at creating avenues for trade in the SAPP, with the prospect of more exchanges of trade and power in the future.
"With the construction of The Malawi-Mozambique Interconnector, our march towards the goal of adding 1,000 megawatts to the national grid over the next four years is making steady progress.
"Our thanks for this project and the 1,000 jobs it will create goes to the Mozambican Government under the leadership of His Excellency Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, but also to our funding partners, including the World Bank, the German Bank KfW, and the European Bank, shouldering a cost of $154 million US dollars between them.
"With friends like these, our efforts to build a new Malawi that is self-reliant and inclusively wealthy -- as enshrined in the Malawi 2063 Vision -- are not in vain.
While congratulating Chakwera for making sure the project materializes, President Nyusi took cognizance that the launch is an indication of willingness by the two leaders to work as partners for the good of both countries.
The Project is being co-funded by the World Bank- IDA Credit at US $15 million; European Union through KFW Grant at US $20 million and the Malawi Government at US$3.5 million.
Nyusi said he was happy to note that Malawi Government has provided US$3.5 million into the project for the construction of the transmission lines on the 76km stretch -- saying this demonstrates Chakwera's administration's commitment to the project.