The World Bank has given Malawi and Mozambique U$57 million (about K42 billion) for the Mozambique-Malawi Regional Interconnector Project which will improve access to reliable electricity for Malawians.
Out of the total amount, Malawi will get $15 million (about K11 billion).
The project will interconnect the Mozambique and Malawi transmission systems to enable both countries to engage in bilateral and regional power trade in the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP).
Its main undertakings include the construction of a 218 km, 400 kV high voltage alternating current transmission line, grid connections, and associated infrastructure including substation works.
The line starts at Matambo substation in Tete Province, central Mozambique, and ends at Phombeya substation in Balaka District in southern Malawi.
With these investments, Malawian households, businesses, and farmers will benefit from increased access to reliable electricity services that are vital to improve the country’s productivity and competitiveness in the domestic and regional markets.
“This is an important project for the region. It will create conditions to expand access to millions of people in the region living without electricity, and help decarbonize the Southern African power systems, which are currently dominated by coal generation,” said Deborah Wetzel, the World Bank Director for Regional Integration for Africa, the Middle East and Northern Africa.
The SAPP is the first and the most advanced power pool in the continent providing an alternative to domestic electricity generation to improve energy security. This project will fund Malawi’s first interconnection to the SAPP, which has been a priority since the early 2000s with several attempts to translate to reality.
“The project seeks to address Malawi’s sectoral challenges, including chronic electricity supply deficits and ensures security of supply as well as reliability and affordability of electricity through imports from Mozambique and, in the future, other SAPP members,” said Bella Bird, World Bank Country Director for Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The project will also reduce the potential for a power crisis based on droughts affecting the Shire River and address the need for back-up in the form of diversified external sources of power.
In addition to construction of a transmission line and related infrastructure, the project will support capacity building of the electricity utilities of both countries.