By Duncan Mlanjira
Leading financial services provider NICO Group has sponsored K5 million for Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) to successfully host the upcoming 54th Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP) International Conference to be held at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe.
To be convened from March 2-5, the SAPP conference will, among other issues, discuss adequacy, reliability and trading of power in the Region in keeping pace with developments within the Africa Region and the world as a whole.
SAPP is a body for Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) member states that was created in 1995 with the aim of promoting a competitive electricity trading market in the region to attract industrial investment while adhering to sound economic, environmental and social practices.
At the cheque handover ceremony held at NICO Groups offices in Chibisa House in Blantyre, ESCOM’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr Allexon Chiwaya said the conference will draw over 150 experts from 12 member states to coordinate the planning operations, trading and environmental related issues.
It will also discuss electricity interconnection system among member utilities.
“The SAPP provides a form for regional solutions to electricity problems,” Chiwaya said. “We are, therefore, grateful that the K5 million that NICO Group has given us will go a long way to the success of the conference.”
He explained that their budget was pegged at K95 million, which is being supported by ESCOM itself, the government and other stakeholders such as NICO.
On behalf of NICO Holdings’s Group Managing Director, Vizenge Kumwenda, NICO General’s CEO Donbell Mandala said the financial services provider considers ESCOM as one of the key business partners in the development of the economy.
“We are proud to offer this sponsorship as we are all undoubtedly aware that ESCOM plays a key role in transmitting and distributing energy which is a key driver to our economy.
“ESCOM is also one of the key clients of our subsidiary companies NICO General and NICO Life and this relationship has existed for more than 30 years.”
He took cognizance that through sound economic, environmental and social practices, ESCOM shall endeavor to make industrial investment in resources to provide quality and adequate power transmission and distribution for sustainable growth of the economy.
“If Africa and Malawi overcome energy challenges then there will be an improvement in job creation, increase in foreign direct investments and ultimately contributing to socioeconomic development.
“As a leading financial services institution ourselves, whose history dates back to 1971, NICO’s focus has always gone beyond ‘business as usual’, but to also look at other areas that would make a positive difference to the various quarters of the economy.
“We want to be part of this economic transformation journey through improvement of the energy sector in transmission and distribution of power in Africa in general and in Malawi in particular.”
He added that NICO being a financial services Group, believes that the conference will also add value to ESCOM employees and other partners in the power transmission and distribution by sharing modern strategies in this sector and also networking.
He also applauded ESCOM for its commitment to host such an important gathering, which apart from the technical discussions, will also put the country on the tourist map.
NICO General, NICO Life and NICO Pensions already offer insurance services to ESCOM.
The group also has other subsidiaries such as NBS Bank, NICO Asset Managers and other financial services and NICO Technologies for ICT solutions.