Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Atupele Muluzi has said government will continue to allocate land to local and foreign investors to demonstrate that Malawi is ready for large-scale investments.
He said there is no country which can develop without adequate power.
Atlas Energies Limited plans to invest over K55 billion ($98,214,286) to install solar panels on the land to generate 40 megawatts (MW) of electricity which would be connected to the national power grid through Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom).
“We are happy that as a ministry responsible for land, we have done our part because for any country to move forward, we need a lot of energy. With enough power, we will see more investors coming in to help grow our economy,” said Muluzi.
He said the coming in of Atlas Energies will create jobs for Malawians thereby reducing poverty.
Said Muluzi: “As a ministry, we have done our part and the other players in the energy sector will also play their rightful role to help the investor complete the project in the shortest time possible.
“We will make sure, as government, that people currently occupying the land where the new investor wants to settle in are properly compensated and enjoy some benefits from the investor.”
On his part, Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Bright Msaka said there are a number of players that want to invest in the energy sector and government is willing to provide necessary support to set up their investments.
“We have a lot of natural resources from which we can generate electricity and we are ready to support investors who are willing to come in and play their rightful role.
“Atlas Energies executive director Richard Bunderson said they have already identified financiers for the project, but are yet to conclude discussions with Escom on power purchase agreement (PPA).
“We will be employing over 300 people in the first phase but when the project is up and running, we will have over 100 people on our payroll which is no mean achievement. This solar field will be the biggest in the Sadc [Southern Africa Development Community] region apart from South Africa,” he said.
Atlas Energies has come in at the time the country is experiencing power outages affecting business operations.
Escom only generates 351MW of power against a suppressed demand of 350MW.