Malawi and Tanzania have jointly launched the US $829m Songwe River Basin Commission in the Tanzanian border town of Keyla. The launch was presided over by Malawi’s Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water development, Joseph Mwanamvekaand his Tanzanian counterpart Deputy Minister of Water, Jumaah Aweso. The commission is set to oversee the management of the project.
According to the minister, the project had successfully concluded feasibility studies, detailed design and investment preparation as well as the establishment of a Joint Songwe River Commission. He also added that the launch is a sign of continued commitment between the two countries to transform the Songwe River Basin.
The minister further added that the move will serve to not only improve Malawi’s agricultural and the Songwe environment management activities through the dams of irrigation but will also drive basin activities including ecosystem management. The dams are projected to generate approximately 180 megawatts, an amount which will no doubt benefit the population of the Basin distributed equally between the two countries.
Mwanamvekha also implored the commission to strengthen transboundary cooperation and integrated natural resources management. The launch is projected to speed up construction of the lower Songwe Dam and Hydro Project, construction of several village based schemes, two major irrigation schemes and construction of the Songwe and Kasumulu towns’ water supply schemes.
Speaking at the function, Tanzanian Minister of Water, Jumaah Aweso expressed his enthusiasm for the project and highlighted that this signifies a continuing rise in positive relationships between Malawi and Tanzania.
The Project’s first phase will run for 10 years. It is expected to attract support from several donors including the African Development Bank. Earlier on, Mwanamveka thanked the 2 countries’ presidents for cultivating excellent bilateral relationships between the two countries.