Speech for the Handing Over Ceremony for Oldtown Substation at Lilongwe in Malawi


Honorable Samuel KAWALE, Minister of Agriculture, Government of the Republic of Malawi,
Your Excellency Mr. OYA Yoichi, Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of Malawi,
Councilor Richard Banda, Mayor of Lilongwe City,
Engineer Alfonso CHIKUNI, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Energy,
Mr. Bernard Mkandowine, Board Director, Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM),
Mr. Kamkwamba KUMWENDA, Chief Executive Officer, ESCOM,
Distinguished guests, good afternoon to you all,

I am honored to be here today to celebrate the reconstruction of the Old Town Substation. The outstanding results of your work through the “Project for the Improvement of Substations in Lilongwe City” will significantly improve the lives and livelihoods of people in this great city.

I would like to express my gratitude to the Government of Malawi, especially the Ministry of Energy and the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi, Yachiyo Engineering Company Limited, West Japan Engineering Consultants Incorporated, Takaoka Engineering Company Limited, and all the other parties involved, for their strong dedication and tremendous efforts to complete this reconstruction project on time.

Let me elaborate on the impact this project will have on the city of Lilongwe.
This Old Town Substation serves as the major substation and central electricity provider for the old town. Its extensive maintenance needs and chronic breakdowns after 30 years of being in operation had caused frequent blackouts. Reconstruction of the facility and related improvements to transformers will ensure it can provide the capital city with a sufficient, reliable supply of electricity for years to come.
That should go a long way to minimizing blackouts, so citizens can enjoy a better quality of life.

In addition, this project includes the expansion of the Kanengo Substation. Within a few months, its capacity for Lilongwe is set to double. Emerging industries should be able to expand as a result, contributing further to the economic development of Malawi.
This project exemplifies Japan’s long-standing commitment to helping improve infrastructure in Malawi. As many of you remember, we completed the construction of Tedzani IV Electricity Hydropower Station in 2021; in fact, that handover ceremony was also celebrated in the presence of his excellency President CHAKWERA.

Another of JICA’s flagship interventions in Malawi is the rehabilitation of Lilongwe Bridge. This bridge is a critical piece of infrastructure not only for the people of Lilongwe, but also for Southern Africa as it is part of an arterial road that connects the region. Its modernisation and expansion will certainly reduce congestion in the center of Lilongwe and stimulate economic activity in Malawi and across Southern Africa.

Agriculture is another important sector for JICA’s cooperation in Malawi. I understand that 75% of adults in Malawi work in agriculture and most of them are small-scale farmers. One of our flagship projects in the agriculture sector was called “the Project for Market-Oriented Smallholder Horticulture Empowerment and Promotion,” or MA-SHEP. This project reached over 2,200 farmers and changed their motivation for farming into the business of “grow to sell.” Those farmers were able to widen their business networks and benefit from more opportunities to penetrate horticultural markets. As a result, their incomes increased. The Ministry of Agriculture now oversees this project with the intention of expanding its impact beyond the originally targeted farmers.

JICA has been extending cooperation to Malawi for more than 50 years. As JICA’s president, I assure you that we will continue to create real impact so that we can achieve a world where no one is left behind.

Our priority is to work hand in hand with individuals on the ground and find solutions that fit the needs of their communities and the environment. We are committed to working with the Government of Malawi and other partners to bring about inclusive, sustainable, and self-reliant growth for the people of Malawi.

Thank you for your attention.
Zikomo kwambiri.


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