MAPUTO, — Mozambican Foreign Minister Jose Pacheco has stated that Mozambique remains interested in selling electricity to neighbouring Malawi.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting with his Malawian counterpart Emmanuel Fabiano here Monday, Pacheco said that, in an initial phase, Mozambique could sell 10 megawatts (MW) of power to Malawi from Mandimba, in the northern province of Niassa.

However, in order to make the inter-connection possible, Malawi will need an investment of 300,000 US dolllars.

Pacheco added that coal-fired power stations in Tete province could provide power to both Malawi and Zambia. However, no such power stations yet exist, although the coal mining companies operating there have promised to build them.

By 2020, our capacity to generate electricity will increase,” said Pacheco. With greater availability of power, he promised further agreements between Mozambique and other countries in the sub-region.

Another challenge, Pacheco added, was the Sena railway line, which currently runs from the Moatize coal basin in Tete province to the port of Beira in central Mozambique. There is a spur line into southern Malawi which has not been used for many years and Pacheco is hoping that landlocked Malawi can benefit from a re-opening this stretch of track.

We shared information about projects to build other rail and port facilities, such as the Port of Macuse,” said Pacheco. This is the plan for a new deep water port at Macuse, on the coast of Zambezia province. Macuse could be another option for Malawian trade as the new port will be considerably nearer to southern Malawi than either Beira or Nacala ports.

Fabiano said he had come to Maputo specifically to discuss matters concerning energy. “We are neighbours and, from time to time, we discuss matters of common interest, he said, adding that among those interests was to ensure that the countries of southern Africa can share electricity.

Malawi is desperately short of electricity, and even those parts of the country fortunate enough to be connected to the national grid often face lengthy power cuts. The vast bulk of Malawi’s electricity supply comes from hydro-power stations on the Shire River, which can generate less than 300 MW.

Fabiano also visited the combined cycle gas-fired power station in Maputo, which is the fourth gas-fired power station built for the Mozambican electricity company, EDM. The company plans to build two more such power plants in Temane, in the southern province of Inhambane, where the gas is extracted and process by the South African petrochemical giant Sasol.

The EDM director of generation, Narendra Gulab, said although there is currently no direct connection between the Mozambican and Malawian electricity grids, EDM has a project for inter-connection that is well advanced.

In the near future, we shall have great potential in energy,” said Gulab. Mozambique will be a major source for generating electricity, and we shall also be able to supply Malawi.