I am happy to welcome you all to today’s signing ceremony of the implementation agreement for the Mozambique-Malawi Interconnector.
When the European Union and Malawi put their energy into joint projects, great things happen. This is the case of the Mozambique-Malawi 400 kV Interconnector that brings us together today.
A thriving Malawi means moving from a landlocked to a land-linked country, a concept that the Government of Malawi has firmly anchored in its new energy policy.
What will the Interconnector bring to the Malawian population? It will link up Malawi's energy grid to the regional electricity market of the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP). This will facilitate the trading and balancing of electricity among countries within the region. It is a major first step in increasing Malawi's energy capacity, moving from being an observer to an operating member of the SAPP.
Energy is one of the main drivers of inclusive and sustainable growth and jobs. Lack of access to reliable power is currently preventing Malawi from realising its full economic growth and development. Businesses and people are affected by regular power cuts and the high costs for diesel generators. The Interconnector project will provide Malawi's private business sector with a more secure supply. This will in turn create an environment where business development can accelerate. Growth in the agriculture sector will benefit from new value chains that depend on a secure and affordable source of energy. A secure energy supply will further lead to improved productivity as businesses will be in a position to operate uninterrupted while optimising their investments.
The energy infrastructure needs are substantial, and despite our best efforts as a partner to Malawi, can only be satisfied if Malawi can attract private investment to the power sector, particularly in renewable energy. This is also the purpose of the Africa-Europe Alliance and the European External Investment Plan. Renewable energy is the future. Our European Union companies are ahead on the market. The European Union recently organised a meeting with the EU private sector in Blantyre. During the meeting, they discussed associated bottlenecks, including energy that need to be tackled in order to attract investments in other sectors of the economy.
The European Union strongly supports regional integration initiatives such as the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) and we take pride in contributing to the Mozambique-Malawi Interconnector, in partnership with KfW. This initiative comes alongside the EU's support to other regional infrastructure initiatives to boost regional trade and economic growth.
Next week, we will be signing a Loan Agreement between the European Investment Bank and the Government of the Republic of Malawi for the Malawi M1 Road Rehabilitation Project. Another example is our partnership with the African Development Bank on the North-South M1 corridor.
We will continue our efforts to strengthen Malawi’s regional connectivity and infrastructure in view of supporting inclusive growth and development for all Malawians.
It is critical to continue our joint efforts to strengthen Malawi’s regional connectivity and infrastructure in view of supporting inclusive growth and development for all Malawians.
That is why we decided to join forces with other donors to tackle this most pressing issue affecting Malawi's economy. The EU is contributing EUR 20 million from our African Investment Facility (AfIF), which will be managed by KfW through a so called blending operation whereby EU grant funds are blended with loans from financial institutions. The EU grant will be complemented also with contributions from the Government of Malawi as well as a World Bank loan.
I would like to thank KfW for taking the lead on this new energy project. KfW has extensive experience in the energy sector worldwide and is an important development partner for the EU. I have confidence that they together with the Ministry of Energy and ESCOM will deliver a successful project.