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Malawi is 4th least electrified country

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A recent World Bank report titled ‘Tracking Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7, the Energy Progress 2022’, has placed Malawi number four among five countries with least access to electricity.

Malawi, at 15 percent is above South Sudan 7 percent, Chad 11 percent and Burundi at 12 percent.

It further indicates that about 16 million people out of 19.13 million do not have access to electricity.

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It adds that Malawi’s annualised increase in access to electricity has been 0.6 percentage points between 2010 and 2020.

“In the period 2018 up to 2020, Kenya, along with Ethiopia, showed the fastest growth, with annual gains of more than 3 percentage points. In contrast, progress slowed over the same period in Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, and Nigeria,” the report says.

Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) has over the years described power outages as the topmost challenge hindering the growth of the local manufacturing sector after Covid in 2020.

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In its 2021 Business Environment Assessment report, the chamber indicates that Maximum Demand Tariff charges frustrated businesses.

In an interview, MCCCI President Lekani Katandula said access to electricity is a key driver to industrial development and should be encouraged.

“Power is a key input in many processes, including the manufacturing sector and other sectors, because, without power, industries are really hampered,” Katamdula said.

Economics Association of Malawi Executive Director Frank Chikuta, during the launch of World Bank’s Malawi Economic Monitor in Lilongwe, said no economy can develop without reliable energy.

“We expected that the government should be seeing the power issue as a thorn that needs emergency policy intervention and all effort directed to it in the short term because, without power, we should forget about sustainable recovery,” Chikuta said.

Power Market Limited Director of Marketing and Corporate Services Villant Jana was quick to say the figures have improved by now.

“We have put several strategies and we have been collecting data on which technologies are needed in Malawi, what resources we have and we have compiled them and, soon, we will be launching a Power Industry Compendia which will help with more investment in the power sector,” Jana said.

In his recent State of the Nation Address, President Lazarus Chakwera said installed electricity capacity rose from 364 megawatts (mw) to 617.1 megawatts following the launch of Tedzani IV Hydro Power Plant.

However, with the incapacitated Kapichira Hydro Power plant, the country is generating below 300mw against a demand of 795mw.

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