Tag Archives: Lake Malawi oil and gas

Malawi-Tanzania – Banda rules out interim deal over lake border dispute


President Banda says Malawi not ready for any interim deal on Lake dispute with Tanzania

By • July 14, 2013
President Banda says bye to Mbeki and Chissano after the meeting

President Banda says bye to Mbeki and Chissano after the meeting

Malawi President Joyce Banda on Sunday told mediators on the border dispute with Tanzania on Lake Malawi that she will not accept any interim deal over the lake until the wrangle is resolved.


“My government is not, at this time willing to entertain any interim agreement on say, the environmental issues or Tanzania usage of the lake until the sovereignty issue is resolved,” said Banda during a joint press conference with former Mozambican President Joachim Chissano and Thabo Mbeki the former South African President.

The 38 member African Forum for former Heads of States is mediating the 50 year old lake dispute between Malawi and Tanzania.

Banda said that  if the Forum fails to resolve the lake dispute by September 30 this year, she will take the matter to the international court of justice (ICJ).

“Our expectation is that the Forum’s role is to facilitate that the parties  reach an agreement. If no agreement is made by 30 September the Forum should recommend that the parties proceed to the ICJ and ensure Tanzania’s commitment to the process,” she said.

Malawi, which sits to the west of Africa’s third-largest lake, claims the entire northern half of the lake while Tanzania, to the east, says it owns half of the northern area. The southern half is shared between Malawi and Mozambique

“Malawi’s position is that we own the entire lake – except for portion ceded to Mozambique in 1954 for mutually beneficial reasons. The law clearly supports that position,” she said.

She asked the two leaders to ask Tanzania to stop making provocative statements  because of rising tensions that such statements  are causing on the border towns.

President Chissano said that his team was going to take Malawi’s concerns to Tanzania and pledged to help resolve the dispute within the agreed period of three months.

Malawi returned to talks early this year aimed at resolving a dispute over Lake Malawi that has soured relations between the two countries and delayed exploration for oil and gas.

It had pulled out of the dialogue in October last year, accusing its neighbor of intimidating Malawi fishermen, a charge Tanzania denied.

In 2011, impoverished Malawi awarded oil exploration licenses to British-based Surestream Petroleum to search for oil in Lake Malawi, which is known as Lake Nyasa in Tanzania.  mabvutojobani

Chissano and Mbeki to lead delegation on Malawi-Tanzania lake dispute


Mbeki, Chissano in #Malawi over lake dispute

Mbeki part of the team trying to resolve dispute

Chissano leads the delegation to Malawi

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki and former Mozambican President Joachim Chissano will on Sunday meet Malawi President Joyce Banda over the Malawi-Tanzania Lake dispute, Malawi officials said.
Malawi, which sits to the west of Africa’s third-largest lake, claims the entire northern half of the lake while Tanzania, to the east, says it owns half of the northern area. The southern half is shared between Malawi and Mozambique

The 50-year-old dispute reignited in 2011 when Malawi awarded exploration licenses to UK-based Surestream Petroleum to search for oil in the disputed northern area.

“Accompanying Chissano will be President Thabo Mbeki. I can also
confirm that the two are coming to Malawi to hold discussions with President Dr Joyce Banda on the Malawi-Tanzania Lake Malawi border issue,” said President press secretary Steve Nhlane.

East Africa has become hot property for the oil industry since huge gas finds off the shores of Tanzania and Mozambique and oil strikes in Uganda and Kenya. Rich hydrocarbon deposits are believed to lie below Lake Malawi.

Malawi pulled out of talks in October last year after it accused its neighbor of intimidating Malawi fishermen, an accusation denied by the Tanzanian government.

In June this year, Malawi again protested Tanzania’s decision to buy six vessels to be deployed on the lake. But Tanzania clarified saying that the vessels were not going to be deployed on the disputed parts of the lake.

Chissano is the chief mediator in the dispute in a team comprising three former Heads of State of Southern Africa Development Corporation (SADC) countries which includes former President of Botswana Festus Mogae.

Chissano was mandated to find a lasting solution to the protracted dispute which had worsened in recent months as chairman of the forum of former Heads of State of SADC.

On Thursday last week President Banda met prominent opposition leaders in the country to brief them on the progress of the mediation

Last month SADC announced that it has released a roadmap for the
mediation process which was presented to the concerned ministers of the two countries.



Malawi and Tanzania in deadlock over lake border


Malawi and Tanzania have reached a deadlock again over the disputed lake Malawi boundary, Tanzanian media reports indicated over the weekend.

Malawi claims sovereignty over the entirety of Africa’s third largest lake, while Tanzania says 50 percent is part of its territory. The row, which goes back half a century, could worsen if significant oil and gas discoveries are made.

The local press quoted the country’s foreign minister as saying that the two countries had yet again failed to agree on the dispute.

“There is now a need for the issue to be handled at the highest levels of international arbitration, ”  Tanzanian foreign affairs minister Benard Membe is quoted as saying in the Citizen newspaper.

Earlier in the week, Malawi information minister Moses Kukuyu said that  Malawi was not ready to surrender the lake to Tanzania.

“Government position is that the boundary between Malawi and Tanzania is along the north and eastern shores of Lake Malawi and basically giving total ownership of the lake to Malawi ….the talks with Tanzania will border on affirming this border other than negotiating it’s relocation because it was already demarcated and delimited,”Kukuyu said during a press briefing earlier last week.

Last  month  Malawi President Joyce Banda  cut off dialogue with Tanzania in a long-time territorial dispute concerning Lake Malawi, thought to have  highly coveted oil and gas reserves.

Banda had said that she believed Tanzania had raised tension by moves such as alleged intimidation of Malawian fishermen on the lake, which also borders on Mozambique.

“Government would like to assure all Malawians that it will protect our territorial integrity and sovereignty as a State. Government is aware of how Malawians, especially those in the border with Tanzania, may be anxious and apprehensive in regard to this matter,” he said.

Malawi last year awarded oil exploration licences to UK-based Surestream Petroleum to search for oil in Lake Malawi, which is known as Lake Nyasa in Tanzania.

But in July, Tanzanian authorities asked Surestream Petroleum to postpone any planned drilling on the lake. The company has not yet started to drill.

Tanzania, east Africa’s second-biggest economy, became a player in energy this year with several onshore and offshore gas finds, attracting multinational energy concerns to the area.

Lake Malawi contains more than 2,000 different fish species, attracting scuba divers, and environmentalists are concerned that oil exploration will disturb its freshwater ecosystem.

Exploration on the lake will start in earnest next year, authorities said.  mabvutojobani