Malawi has expressed interest in energy cooperation with China to help tackle its energy crunch.
Malawian ambassador to Zimbabwe Annie Kumwenda told Xinhua Saturday after touring the Kariba Hydro South Extension Project being undertaken by China’s Sinohydro that Malawi was keen to work with Sinohydro in power infrastructure development.
She said Malawi was one of the few countries in southern Africa where Sinohydro had not constructed a power plant yet.
“Malawi is equally in need of power so if opportunities are given Malawi would really want to jump on this because it’s on our priority list of projects,” Kumwenda said.
She said the country often experienced prolonged power cuts, sometimes lasting up to a week, and the power shortages had had a severe impact on the economy, curtailing the growth of industry and businesses.
“We have had scenarios where some companies were producing cement but production has gone down because of lack of power,” she said.
Malawi’s national electricity grid is able to absorb power of approximately 400 MW, far much below the national demand.
Malawi, she said, had vast potential for hydro power generation as it has the third largest lake in Africa, Lake Malawi, and the huge Shire River where most of its hydro power plants are located.
Kumwenda urged countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to cooperate in the energy sector for the benefit of all the 15 countries in the regional bloc.
She said countries in the region should emulate the way Zimbabwe and Zambia were cooperating in utilization of shared resource, the mighty Zambezi River, for power generation.
“Some of the projects can be done at national level but others should be considered at SADC level so that all the neighboring countries benefit. I think we can talk of regional integration in the energy sector,” the ambassador said.
Zimbabwe and Zambia generate power from water drawn from the Kariba Dam that was constructed in the 1960s across the Zambezi River which divides the two countries.
Sinohydro recently expanded Zambia’s North Bank Power Station by 360 MW and is now undertaking a 300-MW expansion project on Zimbabwe’s Kariba South Bank Power Station.
Zimbabwe expects the first 150 MW unit of the expansion project to come on stream by December 2017. Enditem