Zambia and Malawi Tuesday commissioned a hydro-power int er-connector in Zambia’s rural Chama district, East of the country, an occasion w itnessed by Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa and his Malawian counterpart Bingu w a Mutharika.
The state-run Zambia Daily Mail reported Tuesday that the Zambian would spend ab out US$ 400,000 on the project.
Speaking at the ceremony, Mwanawasa said the connection of Chama to the Malawi n ational grid was a manifestation of the true relationship between the two countr i es.
President Mwanawasa said the electrification of Chama would enable the Zambia El ectricity Corporation (ZESCO) save some 200 million Kwachas which would be spent
on diesel for the thermo power machines used in servicing the district.
He said regional integration was important in addressing the shortage of energy in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.
President Mwanawasa said energy was vital for economic growth, stressing that if the power shortage was not addressed, Zambia’s economy and that of the region w o uld be constrained.
Also speaking, President Mutharika said the connection of Chama to Malawi nation al grid was part of that country’s energy policy aimed at helping people in the r ural areas.
“Chama is the second district to be connected to the Malawi national grid. Lunda zi was connected in 2004 and this shows a fine bilateral relationship between Ma l awi and Zambia,” the mail quoted Mutharika as saying.
He commended the Zambian government for connecting Chama to the system and pledg ed hiscountry’s full support.
According to President Mutharika, Malawi has the capacity to produce an addition al 1,500 megawatts of power.