Friday, July 12, 2024

Ministers from Malawi & Tanzania Discuss Joint Songwe River Basin Project: Surplus electricity for Malawi

Abida Sidik Mia: Co-Chairperson

Ministers responsible for Water, Agriculture, Lands, Energy, and Local Government from Malawi and Tanzania gathered for the 2nd Ordinary Meeting of the Council of Ministers for the Joint Songwe River Basin Commission in Dar es Salaam four days ago to discuss about implementing the Joint Songwe River Basin Project.

The project, valued in the millions of dollars, aims to address the issue of river course shifting, which has resulted in boundary changes along the Songwe River. Through improved transboundary cooperation and sustained ecosystem services, the project seeks to enhance basin protection, livelihoods, and integrated water resources management.

Key project components include the construction of the Lower Songwe Dam and Hydropower Plant (180.2MW), the establishment of irrigation schemes covering an area of 6,200 hectares, implementation of water supply projects, adoption of institutional and environmental measures, prioritization of social infrastructure such as roads, schools, and health centers, rural electrification, social infrastructure development, economic growth, and the detailed design of the Middle Dam.

The Co-Chairperson of the Council of Ministers, Abida Sidik Mia, highlights that the main element of the Songwe River Basin Development Project (SRBDP) is the joint construction of a 180.2 Megawatt hydropower plant at the Songwe Dam, with equal investment from both countries.

The joint commission convened in Dar es Salaam to discuss and establish a shared understanding regarding the construction of the hydroelectric dam, which will be situated on the border between Tanzania’s Kyela area and neighboring Malawi. The estimated cost of the dam, which is anticipated to generate 180 megawatts of electricity, is 761 million US dollars. The partner countries are taking joint measures to secure funding and initiate construction without delay.

Moreover, the communities residing in the river basin will reap benefits in terms of energy, agriculture, food security, and infrastructure improvements.

During President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera’s visit to the United Republic of Tanzania in April 2020, an agreement was reached with the late former Head of State, John Magufuli, to commence the implementation of the Lower Songwe Dam and Hydropower Plant project using government funds.


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