Malawi stagnates on energy access—Study

Malawi is going backwards in terms of energy access – Study

Post was last updated: March 26, 2023

Malawi, along with other sub-Saharan African countries, has stagnated in electricity and clean energy access, a new study by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) has shown.

The findings of a study titled ‘Commodities at a glance: Special issue on access to energy in sub-Saharan Africa” published on Tuesday shows that Malawi has not made much progress to ensure the majority of its citizens have access to electricity.

Malawi, in the report, is one of the least electrified countries with five percent of the population having access to clean energy and less than 50 percent of the population connected to electricity.

According to the study, 923 million people in the region do not have access to electricity and 900 million have no access to clean cooking fuel.

The study has highlighted and underscored the need to make adequate investments in energy and ensure affordable access for all.

“Access to a reliable and quality energy supply is vital to the economic development of any country.

“It drives industrialization, boosts product i v i ty and economic growth, spurs human development, and is crucial to achieve almost all of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

The report deplores the fact that Malawi along with other countries in the region rely mainly on fossil fuels and biomass instead of diversifying its primary energy supply, given its excess resources.

Unctad has since called on governments to accelerate their efforts to expand energy access in line with SDG 7, which requires countries to ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services by 2030.

The country requires 1 000 megawatts (MW), but the Electricity Generation Company Limited has a total installed generation capacity of 441.95MW, with 390.55MW from hydro power plants and 51.4MW from thermal power plants.

Renewable Energy Industries Association of Malawi (Reiama) president Soustain Chigalu observed earlier that there is need to find quick solutions to generate more power to supply to the country.

“By 2030, we want everyone in Malawi to have access to electricity and Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi must do its part, Reiama must also do its part, Electricity Generation Company must do its part.”

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