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Malawi’s critical infrastructure pipeline

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Malawi is embarking on an infrastructure development programme that will include upgrading its current road and rail network to boost its struggling economy. Image credit: Leon Louw for WhyAfrica

Malawi’s critical infrastructure pipeline

Malawi’s ambitions to expand the agriculture, tourism and mining sectors depend on developing critical infrastructure.

By Leon Louw, owner of WhyAfrica and editor of the WhyAfrica magazine   

Although several infrastructure projects in Malawi came to a grinding halt towards the middle of last year, the government of President Lazarus Chakwera has put in place a project pipeline that will hopefully revive the transport, logistics and infrastructure sectors.

Devaluation and its impact on the economy

President Chakwera is hopeful that the expansion of the current road and rail infrastructure network will boost the development of agriculture, tourism and mining in a country beset by economic difficulties and geographic constraints.

Last year Malawi’s construction, transport, logistics and infrastructure sectors bore the full brunt of a second currency devaluation in two years.

The country devalued the Malawian kwacha by 30% against the US dollar last year, saying it was needed to correct supply-demand imbalances in the currency market.

In May 2022, Malawi’s kwacha lost 25% of its value against the US dollar after a much-needed devaluation. Prior to that, Malawi had last devalued its currency in 2012.

The November 2023 devaluation inevitably resulted in a scarcity of foreign exchange, fuel and cement shortages and contractors suspending work on current building projects.

However, in his February State Of The Nation Address, President Chakwera said that all disputes have been settled and that the country’s much needed infrastructure revival is back on track.

In addition to the large infrastructure projects currently in progress, President Chakwera announced a list of projects in the pipeline that might be of interest to contractors.

Malawi’s critical infrastructure pipeline

Malawi uses a Built, Operate and Transfer financing model and will be embarking on the following projects:

  • Construction of more than 3,000km of modern asphalt roads
  • Stabilization of more than 500km of rural dirt roads
  • Rehabilitation of more than 800km of Electric Traction Powered Standard Gauge Rail
  • Construction of Mzuzu and Mangochi Airports and of new terminals at Kamuzu and Chileka Airports
  • Construction of 20 story twin tower Government office at Capitol Hill
  • Rehabilitation of Maritime ports in Chilumba, Nkhata Bay, Nkhotakota, Chipoka, and Monkeybay, as well as the acquisition of two new passenger ferries for Lake Malawi
  • Construction of the five-lane Lilongwe Bridge that will have special lanes for cars, motorbikes, and pedestrians
  • Rehabilitation of the M1 Road spanning from KIA Turn Off to Mzimba Turn Off and Kacheche to Chiweta, covering 300.7km (this project has commenced
  • The rehabilitation of the M5 Road from Balaka Market to Kaphatenga, Dwangwa, and Mukwiya is also progressing steadily, as is the upgrading of Dzaleka – Ntchisi – Mpalo – Malomo Road
  • The upgrading of the Chitipa – Illomba Road, upgrading of the Rumphi-Nyika road whose construction will start soon and the rehabilitation of municipal town roads in Kasungu, Dedza and Balaka, which have not been attended to in 30 years
  • Upgrading of the Nambuma-Kasiya road whose engineering design and feasibility study will soon commence
  • The rehabilitation of the Marka-Bangula railway section is in progress, with over one-fifth of the Marka section complete, which can now accommodate trains from Beira
  • Similarly, the rehabilitation of the Liwonde-Lilongwe Railway section continued throughout the year under review, and works are expected to be completed in the next financial year, which means that in the coming months, train operators will be able to transport goods from Blantyre to Lilongwe for the first time in almost three decades.

WhyAfrica will visit Malawi again later this year as part of our 2024 WhyAfrica Road Trip through South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania. During this year’s Road Trip, we aim to visit about 30 project sites and interview more than 40 stakeholders in less than 40 days. There are still a number of sponsorship, advertising and partnership opportunities available.

Malawi’s critical infrastructure pipeline


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Malawi’s critical infrastructure pipeline

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