COVID-19 delays Mozambique-Malawi Interconnector

ESCOM

Malawi will not be getting additional electricity from Mozambique any time soon. Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) has attributed the delay to finalise the Mozambique-Malawi Interconnection project to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Government of Malawi through Escom is implementing the interconnection project, which had been projected to be finalised by December 2022, but has now been shifted to October 2023.

At a press briefing on Tuesday, Alex Kaitane, Escom's senior projects manager, said they have awarded contracts to contractors to start working on the project.

“COVID came as we were doing some preparatory works. Being a joint project involving EDM in Mozambique and Malawi, we used to meet and discuss implementation issues. Then we were forced to shift to online meetings, but we had challenges initially.

"Currently, we have mastered the art of working online. Apart from that we are exploring several ways to ensure we meet the deadline. One of which is encouraging our contractors to utilise involvement of local contractors so that in cases of future, COVID outbreak does not affect the project further,” he said.

The objective of the project is to contribute to economic growth of the region through sustainable power access by integrating Malawi electricity market to the Southern African Pool to balance power deficit through regional power trading.

The project is expected to contribute 50 megawatts power which translates to improved access to electricity supply in the country.

The US$127 million project has support from World Bank IDA credit which is US$15 million, and European Union KfW grant of 20 million Euros. Malawi Government is contributing US$2.5 million while the Mozambican government is contributing the rest

The project involves the construction of 218 km of Transmission Interconnector-76 km in Malawi, and 142 km in Mozambique.

It will also involve extension of Phombeya Substation, and construction of 400kV Substation at Matambo in Mozambique.

So far, the project has finalized activities in phase One, which include Technical and Economic Feasibility Study, Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, and Resettlement and Policy Framework.

The second phase involved the recruitment of Tender Agent, Owner’s Engineer, Construction contractor, and other consultants.