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Firms hired for viability studies

The governments of Malawi and Mozambique have finally identified two consultants to conduct fresh feasibility and environmental and social impact assessment on the proposed Malawi – Mozambique power interconnection project.

Currently meeting in Maputo, Mozambique, officials from the two governments are also expected to identify a project manager to oversee rolling and implementation of the interconnector which “rolls out soon”.

Deputy Director for Energy Joseph Kalowekamo said in an interview that one French and another Canadian firm have been identified to conduct a feasibility study and an environmental and social impact assessment for the project respectively.

“Delays in the hiring process were mainly on the basis of the World Bank’s procurement recommendations,” said Kalowekamo.

He said it is expected that by the end of the week, a project manager will also be identified to run the technicalities of the project.

Kalowekamo also said the two consultants will be on the ground before end of this year.

At the meeting in Maputo, the two governments are also discussing potential power tapping modalities between its two utility companies, said Kalowekamo.

“There are several issues that the two governments are discussing including how utility companies from the two countries would operate,” said Kalowekamo, adding: “Here in Malawi, Escom is entrusted with the task of buying and managing the power on behalf of the country.”

Through the power interconnection deal, Maputo and Lilongwe already agreed to take advantage of the Southern Africa Power Pool, a body established to co-ordinate matters of regional power integration under the Southern African Development Community, by interconnecting their power system for shared energy resources.

A feasibility study done some years ago concluded that with an investment of US$32 million, it would have been possible to interconnect Mozambique and Malawi through a 220 kv transmission line from Matambo substation in Mozambique to Blantyre in Malawi.

A c c o r d i n g t o Kalowekamo, both the vale and capacity will have to be revised upwards through the new study as power transmission plan will also be revised.

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