Kam’mwamba coal fired plant to end Malawi’s power outages

Written by  Aston Gondwe

President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika and Energy China officials have spoken of the need to speed up efforts for the completion of the Kam’mwamba coal fired project in Neno district in order for Malawi to become a power self–reliant nation.

President Prof Mutharika (L) and Mr. Wang (R) captured during the visit President Prof Mutharika (L) and Mr. Wang (R) captured during the visit Pic by Aston Gondwe


Professor Mutharika and top management for the state owned engineering conglomerate were speaking when the Malawi leader visited the company’s headquarters in Beijing, China.


“I have come here because energy is important. We have worked on all the agreements for the project. If there is anything else we need to do, please let us know,” said President Mutharika.


During the visit, the Malawi leader who was flanked by cabinet ministers was taken on an indoor tour to appreciate the firm’s mandate and capacity.


“We realize the importance of the project and we will not relent to do the needful as soon as resources from the bank are made available for the exercise,” said the chief chairman for the company Wang Jiang Ping.


The firm which has its footprint in at least 48 countries across the world is a mother body for China Gezhouba Group of companies, which has a 40 percent shareholding for the Kam’mwamba coal fired project.


Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Mining Patrick Matanda has since described the project which government will implement using a 600 million US dollar long term loan from the EXIM Bank of China as “a game changer to Malawi’s power outages.”


“Meanwhile, we are wholly dependent on hydro-powered electricity. Our capacity stands at 352 megawatts. We hardly reach that capacity because of climate change induced factors. With this project, be assured we are going to have enough electricity,” said Katanda, adding that coal for the plant will initially be sourced from Moatize, a place some 120 kilometres away in neighboring Mozambique.


According to a 2018 power demand forecast, Malawi needs at least 550 megawatts of electricity.

“A railway line is just some 8 kilometers away from the project site,” pointed out Chief Executive Officer for the project Overton Mandalasi, who is also part of a delegation that has travelled to Beijing, adding that the project has been designed to last for thirty years.


“Power from the plant will be injected into the country’s power grid through some nearby and newly constructed Phombeya 400 KV substation, a landing and take-off point for the Mozambique interconnector in Neno district for distribution to the Central and Northern regions,” he concluded.


The Substation which will also connect Malawi with the Southern Africa Power Pool – SAPP, is part of a $350.7 million initiative by the US government to Malawi through the Millennium Challenge Corporation – MCC.


President Mutharika is in Beijing China for the third Forum on China – Africa Cooperation. The two day event will end on 4th September. It is a key platform for collective dialogue and cooperation between China and over fifty African nations. It is themed: Win-win cooperation and join hands to build a closer community with a shared future for China and Africa.

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