(MENAFN - African Press Organization) LILONGWE, Malawi, November 1, 2018/APO Group/ --
Millennium Challenge Corporation Vice President, General Counsel and Board Secretary Jeanne Hauch today marked the closeout of the MCC Malawi Compact at a ceremony to commemorate the official hand-over and commissioning of the Nkula A Hydropower Station.
MCC Vice President Hauch was joined by Malawi President Peter Mutharika, U.S. Ambassador to Malawi Virginia Palmer, CEO of the Electricity Generation Company (EGENCO) William Liabunya, and MCA-Malawi CEO Dye Mawindo. Representatives of the implementing entities and institutions created with the compact's support, including the MCA-Malawi staff, were also in attendance.
The successful rehabilitation of the Nkula A Hydropower Station was a major component of the MCC Malawi Compact. At the beginning of the compact, Nkula A, originally commissioned in 1966, was not running at full capacity due to poor condition. Through MCC's investment, the rehabilitated and modernized hydropower station now has at least an additional 30 years of operation and output capacity increased from the original 24 megawatts to 36 megawatts.
'I am honored to be here to celebrate the rehabilitation of the Nkula A Hydropower Station and all the accomplishments of the MCC Malawi Compact, MCC Vice President Hauch said at the handover ceremony. 'This Compact has increased capacity in the system, increased skills for workers, and increased opportunities through policy reforms. Now, it is up to the Government of Malawi and its partners to continue progress. While the compact is ending, this is really just the start of the realization of the potential of reliable power in Malawi.
'I am delighted to celebrate this historic milestone today with Vice President Hauch, President Mutharika, and all the leaders and stakeholders in Malawi's power sector, U.S. Ambassador to Malawi Virginia Palmer said. 'The successful end of the MCC Malawi Compact demonstrates that the United States, the MCC Compact, and the Government of Malawi are delivering on their promise to modernize the power sector and improve the lives of people across this beautiful country.
Accomplishments of the MCC Malawi Compact
The MCC Malawi Compact was designed to increase individual and business incomes and reduce poverty by improving the availability, reliability and quality of the power supply, expanding access to power, reducing the cost of doing business, and revitalizing Malawi's power sector.
MCC's investment in Malawi established the foundation for a modern power sector and served as a catalyst through which the Government of Malawi, private investors and regional partners have an opportunity to build.
Compact investments in infrastructure increased the volume of electricity and improved the stability of Malawi's electricity grid. Additionally, system enhancements were introduced across the network and at the national control center through a state-of-the-art network data monitoring system, contracted to General Electric, which provides real-time and remotely managed information on the electrical grid and power outages.
The compact also focused on policy and institutional reforms. To ensure long-term success, MCC's power sector investments in Malawi need the support of well-managed utilities, an open and competitive market and a strong regulatory framework. Major progress has been made by splitting the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) into two entities: ESCOM Ltd., focused on transmission and distribution of electricity; and the Electricity Generation Corporation (EGENCO), focused on generation. These reforms undertaken by the Government of Malawi created space for the private sector to bring investment and expertise to the nation's power system.
Strengthening the power sector in Malawi also meant empowering women to play a leading role. ESCOM, the country's electric utility, created a Gender and Social Inclusion unit and is now leading the way in mainstreaming women's participation in the energy sector—training employees and developing opportunities for the next generation of female engineers.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of U.S. Embassy in Malawi.