Mozambican Foreign Minister Jose Pacheco declared on Monday that Mozambique remains interested in selling electricity to Malawi.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting in Maputo with his Malawian counterpart, Emmanuel Fabiano, Pacheco said that, in an initial phase, Mozambique could sell 10 megawatts of power to Malawi from Mandimba, in the northern province of Niassa.
But to make this interconnection possible, Malawi will need to provide investment of 300,000 US dollars.
Pacheco added that coal fired power stations in Tete province could provide power to both Malawi and Zambia. However, no such power stations yet exist, although the coal mining companies have promised to build them.
“By 2020, our capacity to generate electricity will increase”, said Pacheco. With greater availability of Mozambican power, he promised further agreements between Mozambique and other countries of the region.
A further challenge, Pacheco added, was the Sena railway line. Currently this runs from the Moatize coal basin in Tete to the port of Beira. But there is a spur into southern Malawi that has not been used for many years, and Pacheco hoped that Malawi can benefit from re-opening this stretch of track.
“We shared information about projects to build other rail and port facilities, such as the Port of Macuse”, said Pacheco. This is the plan for a new deep water port at Macuse, on the coast of Zambezia province. Macuse could be another option for Malawian trade: the new port will be considerably nearer to southern Malawi than either Beira or Nacala.
Fabiano said he had come to Maputo “specifically to discuss matters concerning energy. We are neighbours and, from time to time, we discuss matters of common interest”. One of those interests was to ensure that the countries of southern Africa can share electricity.
Malawi is desperately short of electricity, and even those parts of the country fortunate enough to be connected to the national grid often face lengthy power cuts. The vast bulk of Malawi’s electricity supply comes from hydro-power stations on the feature, which can generate less than 300 megawatts.
Fabiano also visited the combined cycle gas-fired power station in Maputo, which is the fourth gas-fired power station built for the Mozambican electricity company EDM. The company plans to build two more in Temane, in the southern province of Inhambane, where the gas is extracted and process by the South African petro-chemical giant Sasol.
The EDM director of generation, Narendra Gulab, said that, although there is currently no direct connection between the Mozambican and Malawian electricity grids, EDM has a project for interconnection that is “well advanced”.
“In the near future, we shall have great potential in energy”, said Gulab. Mozambique will be a major source for generating electricity, “and we shall also be able to supply Malawi”.