By Sitilitha Mpembenji
President Lazarus Chakwera is making sure that every time he travels, he brings something for Malawians, in contrast to the previous administration, which considered every foreign trip for the President as a conduit to siphon public funds by bloating the entourage with family and friends.
President Chakwera has negotiated two energy deals in just two days while in Egypt for the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27). The latest is a $27 million (K27 billion) grant for energy investment in Malawi from the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP).
This comes after conversations Dr. Chakwera had this morning in Sharm El Sheikh with Simon Harford, the Alliance’s chief executive officer.
The breakthrough happens after a year of courting investments in Malawi’s energy sector from GEAPP for the implementation of a grid battery-powered project in Malawi.
It is expected that a Memorandum of Understanding regarding GEAPP’s work will be signed on the sidelines of COP27, to which the President will bear witness.
GEAPP is also expected to host a side event with global climate investors, to be addressed by Dr. Chakwera as part of wooing support for Malawi’s course in boosting the energy sector.
The development comes a day after the President also sealed another energy deal with Elsewedy Electric, a multinational company to invest in solar power in Malawi.
Commenting, some governance experts have applauded Chakwera’s approach saying his commitment is a clear sign that he is searching for long term solution to the energy crisis in Malawi.
Ironically, the leader of the opposition, Kondwani Nankhumwa, led the charge in urging the president to postpone the trip, claiming the money intended for it might be used to address the country’s fuel shortage
In September, the United States also signed a $350 million grant for infrastructure projects with Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera, hailing his record on good governance.
The aid — through the Millennium Challenge Corporation which assists developing nations that meet democratic benchmarks — will fund a major road network in Malawi to connect rural and urban areas.