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African Development Bank pledges financial support for the energy sector

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) has extended an opportunity for Malawi to benefit from a pool of $12 billion set aside to promote the energy sector on the continent.

This follows a meeting a delegation from the bank had with authorities in the Ministry of Energy, representatives of Escom and officials from newly established Energy Generation Company (Egenco) at Capital Hill, yesterday.

This is coming at a time the industry sector and the public are yet to be impressed with trends in electricity supply following persistent blackouts that have been rocking Malawi for many years.

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AfDB Vice President, Amadou Hott, pointed out that Malawi being one of the countries with a low access rate to electricity among its population, posed an opportunity for the bank to intervene with provision of finance for energy projects being undertaken and those in the pipeline in the country.

“The bank has a new deal on energy for Africa which was approved by the board of directors of the bank last year which requires the bank to invest $12 billion for the next five years and also leveraging a lot of resources from our other partners and also the private sector,” Hott said.

He further said the bank will be playing an advisory role on the projects that will seek financing from it.

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“In terms of our intervention, we will provide technical support, in particular legal support to the government, Esom and Egenco so that the government can contract in a very swift manner with the private sector to procure for the IPP,” Hott said.

Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Bright Msaka, welcomed the invitation stressing that it will smoothen projects that are in the pipeline to boost electricity supply in the country.

He emphasised that this is in line with government’s plans to have the country producing 2,000 megawatts of electricity in the next five years.

He could not say, however, how much money Malawi is going to access from the bank for its energy projects.

“We will be discussing with the AfDB on developing Kholombidzo on the Shire River and we also have a project on the Songwe [River] in the North where we are doing a project together with Tanzania where we are going to benefit 90 megawatts. We have also a private sector-led project on Lweya River in Nkhata Bay and many other projects. So, all these can benefit from the AfDB,” Msaka said.

He further said the bank will equip workers at Escom and Egenco on how to go about their duties following the separation of the two companies.

Msaka further expressed confidence that the electricity situation, where blackouts have minimised in recent weeks, will continue.

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