The Malawi Government and the United Republic of Tanzania have agreed to jointly use the Songwe river in developing electricity power plants, irrigation schemes and together combat climate change.
This follows fruitful discussions the two countries held on the Songwe River Basin Development Program (SRBDP) at the Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe.
Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Goodall Gondwe while officially opening the Donors’ Conference on the Songwe River Basin Development Program (SRBDP) Thursday said Malawi government was certainly going to get some money from the African Development Bank (AfDB) as well as the private investors who he believed were ready to take part particularly in the irrigation component.
“This is a helpful programme for Malawi however, we will monitor its progress closely and invest desirably,” said Gondwe.
Tanzania’s Leader of Delegation, Minister of Water and Irrigation, Eng. Gerson Hosea Lwenge said the organized donors’ conference helped in harnessing the development of the Songwe River Basin.
Lwenge said every year people along the basin have been experiencing flash foods with more than 100,000 being displaced.
He then said investing in the region through the SRBDP raises chances of addressing the flooding problem.
“First of all, we will have to construct a dam which will be a multipurpose dam. We hope that from this dam we will be producing hydro-power and developing irrigation schemes.
“We have so many things in common and this programme is going to benefit people from both countries,” said Lwenge.
The project is expected to cost over US$829 million (about MK580 Billion) and it will be shared equally.
African Development Bank (AfDB) Resident Representative, Dr Andrew Mwaba said the Bank is committed to financing the SRBDP.
“What I can say is that as a Bank we are ready to provide financial resources for the commencement of the project,” he said.
The SRBDP has three phases; the first one being the feasibility study, followed by detailed designing while thirdly will be the actual construction of the dam. The two phases were already carried out an indication of good progress.
Meanwhile AfDB has pledged US$72million to kick start the third phase of the project.
During the donors’ conference the two governments singed the Memorandum of Understanding for the Phase three of the SRBDP and the convention to establish the Songwe River Basin Commission (SRBC).(By Gladys Kamakanda, Lilongwe, May 18, 2017, Mana)