Speech by His Excellency President Professor Peter Mutharika at The Handover Ceremony of the Millennium Challenge Account – First Compact At Nkula Power Station in Neno District, Wednesday, 31 October, 2018
The Malawi Compact symbolises the deep bilateral relationship that Malawi shares with the United States of America.
I have been part of the Malawi Compact of the Millennium Challenge Account since I joined Government in 2007.
I joined Government as Legal Advisor to Late President Bingu wa Mutharika on 1st September 2007. On the first day I reported for duties, my first meeting was to negotiate for the First Malawi Compact at Chikoko Bay. I can proudly say I have been there from its creation.
With the Malawi Compact, the US Government has invested in a critical priority of our economy. Energy is the key that remains to unlock Malawi’s economic growth. This is an investment in empowering the people of Malawi and their businesses.
We therefore appreciate that US Government provided grant of $350 million (three hundred and fifty million dollars) through the Millennium Challenge Corporation. We say THANK YOU.
We appreciate investments in the energy sector because Government is determined to invest more until we end energy shortage in this country. And we will bring this problem to an end.
Let me add that any more investment and support in energy will always be appreciated.
For over fifty years, this country never invested in energy seriously. Our investments were too little, too far apart and ad hoc. We never invested to match the growing population of Malawi.
For too long, we neglected the energy sector. That is why this country is experiencing power shortages today.
This country was not even ready to accommodate serious investments in energy. Our energy laws were rigid and too hostile for investment. We reformed our legal framework.
We have been depending too heavily on hydro-power. But climate is changing and the water in Lake Malawi is never always sufficient to generate enough power for Malawians. Now we are diversifying into coal, gas, wind and solar power generation.
For many years, our transmission capacity has been too small for us to expand energy generation. Even if we expanded energy generation, we could not take large quantities of electricity to the people. Today, we have improved our transmission capacity.
Now we are ready to expand energy generation and transmit enough electricity to the people and their businesses. Now we are ready to end electricity shortage. I want us to say farewell to blackouts. And we will say farewell to blackouts. I can guarantee you that.
More than at any point in the history of this country, we have taken more aggressive measures to resolve the energy problem which was neglected for many years. We have in four years done more than what we did as a country in fifty years.
We will continue pursue medium term and long-term measures to end energy once and for all. Because big energy projects take time, we are implementing several projects that will add at least 80 (eighty) megawatts by March 2019.
Before that time, we should be able to launch construction of a few major projects in solar, wind, gas and coal power.
The transmission and distribution network that we have constructed will facilitate the evacuation of power from any major power station where we will generate more power.
The construction of three key substations at Phombeya, Nkhoma and Bwengu has provided Malawi with facilities to import and export power to our neighbouring countries through the Southern African Power Pool.
We are interconnecting with Mozambique using Phombeya Substation. We are interconnecting with Zambia using Nkhoma Substation. And we want to interconnect with Tanzania using Bwengu Substation.
Not only are we developing capacity to distribute local power and import from outside, but we can also export power to neighbouring countries.
At the same time, our modernised power distribution network will reduce electricity losses. It will also improve reliability and quality of electricity supply to Malawians.
Needless to say, the Malawi Compact project has given us the capacity to do more in resolving the power shortage problem. I reiterate my gratitude to the people of America because this project is a monument to higher achievements.
We look forward to being chosen for the second Compact coming in December. We delivered the first Compact. We will deliver the second Compact because we deliver.
May God Bless You!
And God Bless Malawi!