DAR ES SALAAM, March 12 (Xinhua) -- Tanzania and Malawi on Tuesday launched a joint commission on Songwe River Basin aimed at running irrigation and power generation projects worth 829 million U.S. dollars.
The commission was launched in Kyela district in the southern highland region of Mbeya by Tanzanian Deputy Minister for Water and Irrigation Jumaa Aweso and Malawian Minister for Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Joseph Mwanamvekha.
"The objective of the commission is to oversee the management of resources in the river basin for the benefit of people in the two neighboring countries," they said in a joint statement.
The commission will oversee implementation of various projects along the river basin, including construction of dams for hydropower generation and irrigation covering over 6,000 hectares on both sides, the statement said.
The two countries will seek financial support from development partners for implementation of projects in the basin.
"We are proud to launch this commission that will manage projects in the Songwe River Basin that will benefit people residing within the basin from both countries," said Aweso of Tanzania.
Aweso said power generated within the river basin will benefit 60 percent of residents in the area and that two irrigation schemes will be able to irrigate 3,150 hectares in Tanzania and 3,050 hectares in Malawi.
Kitila Mkumbo, permanent secretary in the Tanzanian Ministry of Water and Irrigation, said projects to be undertaken in the basin will cost 829 million dollars.
Construction of dams will also control floods caused by the overflow of Songwe River that caused loss of lives and property on both sides of the two countries, he said.