Songwe River Basin Development Programme

Overview

The Songwe River Basin Development Programme (SRBDP) aims to enhance adaptation to climate change, mitigate adverse environmental impacts on food production and capitalise on economic opportunities available in the Basin. It comprises 26 multi-sectoral projects.

Investment request

Technical assistance to take projects to bankable feasibility, and financing of the capital costs of projects. Capital expenditure is expected to be US$687 million for priority projects, US$142 million for other projects.

Project

Capital expenditure (US$ million)

Technical assistance required (US $million)

1

Lower Songwe dam (330 million m3) and hydropower plant (180.2 MW), managed as a public-private partnership

550

0

2

Irrigation and drainage schemes (6,200 ha)

99

TBC

3

Urban water supply to Kasumulu town (Tanzania)

 

Immediate measures

0.42

0

 

Long-term measures

4.08

TBC

4

Urban water supply to Songwe town (Malawi)

 

Immediate measures

0.52

0

 

Long-term measures

3.98

TBC

5

Rural water supply

13

TBC

6

Institutional and environmental measures

13

TBC

7

Priority social infrastructure (roads, schools and health centres)

3

TBC

 

Sub-total: Priority investments

687

8

Rural electrification

90

TBC

9

Social infrastructure

42

TBC

10

Economic development (fisheries, tourism, small industry support)

8

TBC

11

Detailed design, Middle Songwe dam

2

TBC

Sub-total: Other investments

142

Grand total

829

Main sponsor(s)

The Songwe River Basin Commission on behalf of the governments of Malawi and Tanzania.

Key facts

Water infrastructure type

Dams, hydropower, water supply, sanitation and hygiene (urban and rural), irrigation, rural electrification, social infrastructure, economic infrastructure

Country(ies), location

Malawi, Tanzania

Transboundary basin

Songwe River Basin

Development impact

  • Increased access to electricity for 60% of people in the Basin
  • 180.2 MW increase in installed electricity generation capacity that can be fed into the Southern Africa Power Pool
  • Over 5,500 farm families benefiting from increased irrigated land and crop yields
  • An increase in water supply and sanitation by 2025 to more than 260,000 people
  • Enhanced livelihoods in the Basin because of increased access to water, electricity and irrigation services
  • River stabilisation and flood control
  • Environmental conservation

Financing requirement

Capital expenditure

US$687 million for priority projects
US$142 million for other projects

Project preparation

TBC

  • The Songwe River Basin covers an area of 4,243 km² and is endowed with fertile alluvial soil and abundant water resources. It is home to a population of over 341,000 people who rely on the land for their livelihoods.
  • The Songwe River forms 200 km of the international border between Tanzania and Malawi. The natural shift of the river’s course over time affects more than 52,000 people living in the flood plain; they suffer from flooding and land loss caused by the meandering of the river.
  • 80% of the Basin’s population are classified as rural poor, with 30–50% lacking access to a safe water supply and 75% without access to electricity.
  • Both countries experience electricity shortages.
  • Rapid population growth has contributed to environmental degradation.
  • US$20–100 million from the African Development Bank (AfDB).
  • US$6.4 million from the Global Environment Facility towards transboundary cooperation and integrated natural resources management.
  • US$0.5 million from the NEPAD Infrastructure Preparation Facility and US$1.7 million from the African Legal Support Facility for transaction advisors for dam and hydropower projects.
  • In-kind funding from CRIDF for financial and economic modelling (£85,000), technical prefeasibility of the rural water, sanitation and hygiene projects (£150,000), and bankable feasibility of immediate water supply measures for the towns of Kasumulu (Tanzania) and Songwe (Malawi) (£240,000).
  • US$113,000 (€100,000) from the Stockholm International Water Institute for the preparation of irrigation projects investment funding.

The AfDB is the main development finance institution supporting the SRBDP; AfDB’s safeguard standards are being used to guide project preparation. Completed studies are:

  • A basin-wide feasibility study (2003).
  • An update of the 2003 feasibility study in 2014.
  • Strategic environmental and social assessment.
  • Detailed design, including environmental and social impact assessment, for the Lower Songwe Dam and hydropower project, and two irrigation schemes and water supply for Kasumulu (Tanzania) and Songwe (Malawi) small towns, including benefits for communities in downstream Songwe and stabilisation of the Lower Songwe River.
  • Comprehensive plans for water-related social infrastructure.