- Malawi will by the end of next year tap power from River Zambezi in Mozambique following a power sharing memorandum of understanding the two governments signed in 1998, Malawi's Minister of Economic Planning and Development, David Faiti has disclosed.
Minister Faiti said this at a press conference he addressed alongside Deputy Minister of Mines, Natural Resources and Environment, Jimmy Banda in the Malawian capital, Lilongwe, recently. He observed that Malawi was lagging behind in industrialisation because her power generation capacity is not enough to accelerate industrial growth.
"Power is the key to industrialisation. Many industrialised nations have used power to trigger development and Malawi should do the same to achieve a substantial industrialisation," the Minister said.
He added that the Malawi-Mozambique power interconnection - which is a concept under the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) - will provide a back-up to the country's power plants whose power generation capacity is not enough to meet the ever-increasing demand for electricity in the country. The Minister said because of this, government had found it imperative to rehabilitate Tedzani power station to enhance its power generation capacity.
Minister Faiti said increasing access to electricity would also provide a long-term solution to deforestation; a problem Malawi's government is fighting hard to address. Malawi has been described as one of Africa's countries most affected by the negative sides of deforestation, such as massive erosion and a drier climate.
Making his comment, the Deputy Minister of Mines, Natural Resources and Environment, Jimmy Banda said the Malawian government had also banked its hopes on the Japanese funded rural electrification programme expected to enter phase four shortly.
"We have identified 240 sites as beneficiaries of phase four of the rural electrification project," said Deputy Minister Banda. "This, coupled with the Mozambique-Malawi power interconnection will make us realise our dream of accelerating electricity accessibility levels in the country currently hovering at around 7 percent."
According to Electricity Supply Commission of Malawi (ESCOM) acting Chief Executive, Kandi Padambo, the power sharing agreement will see Malawi importing between 50 and 100 megawatts from River Zambezi in Mozambique. Currently ESCOM has four power generation plants, namely Kapichira with a power generation capacity of 64.8 megawatts, Wovwe with 4.5 megawatts, Nkula A and B with 124 megawatts and Tedzani 1 2 and 3 with 106.7 megawatts.
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