The Government of Malawi intends to develop a 350 MW hydropower project on the Shire river at Mpatamanga Gorge under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project finance development model.
The project is a national priority designed to address the country’s severe power deficits and reliability issues. A comprehensive Government-sponsored feasibility study completed in 2018, together with further investigations undertaken since then, recommend the development of a 309 MW daily peaking plant combined with a regulating dam with an additional 41 MW of generation capacity to return the river’s flow to its natural level.
The Government partnered with International Finance Corporation (IFC) as co-developer to undertake early-stage development activities for the project, including the preparation of project documents, technical reports and environmental and social studies. As mentioned in an RFP announcement issued on 7 December 2019, and at the related event held in Blantyre, Malawi, on 13 December 2019, the Government now intends to identify a Strategic Sponsor for the development, financing, construction, operation and maintenance of the project. The Strategic Sponsor will be selected through a competitive tender process managed by Malawi’s Public Private Partnership Commission (PPPC) in accordance with the PPP Act.
One or more engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors will be selected under a subsequent and separate tender process, which will follow the World Bank procurement regulations. Any proposal from a company that includes the name of a contractor for any downstream work will be unacceptable. Companies that participate in the winning Strategic Sponsor’s proposal or any of their affiliates, associates or subsidiaries, or any firms controlled directly or indirectly by such companies will not be permitted to participate as a bidder in the tender process for the role of EPC contractor.
The Strategic Sponsor RFP, which will include an initial qualification phase, will be made available to prospective bidders starting on or around 11 February 2020. A certification letter and relevant fee will be required before prospective bidders can gain access to the RFP via an electronic data room. Instructions for interested parties to request access to the RFP can be found by visiting the Project website (www.mpathydro.com).
Additional details will be provided during two webinars to be held on 31st January and 4th February 2020. The webinar registration information will be posted to the project website. In April 2020, the Government will host a site visit preceded by a pre-bid conference in Blantyre, where bidders will be given the opportunity to ask questions to the Government and its advisors.