Malawi and Mozambique, which are pursuing plans to interconnect their power grids, have agreed on new arrangements that entail the construction of an 800 kV 1 000 km power line from Tete, in Mozambique, through Malawian territory to Nacala.
The new design is said to be an improvement on the original one, which entailed the construction of a 220 kV power line over a shorter distance from Tete to the Phombeya substation, in Malawi’s Balaka district.
Malawi Minister of Energy Ibrahim Matola signed the agreement with his Mozambique counterpart, Salvador Namburete, in Lilongwe, Malawi. The signing ceremony was witnessed by Malawi’s President Joyce Banda and Mozambique’s President Armando Guebuza, as well as by representatives of the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the Norwegian government, which are expected to provide loans and grants to finance the multimillion-dollar project.
“Mozambique will finance the 200 km power connection from Tete to Balaka, in Malawi, while Malawi will finance the 800 km extension of the connection from Balaka to Nacala. Feasibility studies on the project should start in due course,” said Matola.
Namburete said the new arrangement would enable the two countries to share more power, unlike the original one, which was designed to allow Malawi to import only up to 50 MW.
“It is a completely new project; in the past, Malawi needed only 50 MW but its requirements will be more than that.”
Malawi Foreign Affairs Minister Ephraim Chiume said the two countries had come up with the new arrangement following a series of meetings that started mid-2012, when President Banda undertook a State visit to Mozambique.
During Guebuza’s recent visit to Malawi, the governments of the neighbouring countries signed three other agreements to work together in the areas of security and public order, migration, and science and innovation.
Mozambique Foreign Affairs Minister Oldemiro Julio Marques Baloi hailed the signing of the agreements, describing them as a symbol of the cordial relationship between the two countries.
He, however, said there was a need for the two countries to fast-track the ongoing project to redemarcate the existing border because Mozambique was waiting for the completion of the project before it would carry out geological mapping to determine its mineral worth.
Malawi and Mozambique are cooperating on a number of projects, including the development of the Nacala and Beira rail corridors, the Mtwara corridor and the Shire–Zambezi waterway.