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US for improved access to electricity

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By Faith Kadzanja:

SPAHN— We are working with several stakeholders

The United States Agency for International Development (USAid), in support of the United States government-led Power Africa initiative, has selected four solar companies to connect 150,000 households to electricity across Malawi before 2023.

USAid Malawi Power Africa Energy Adviser, Andrew Spahn, on Tuesday listed names of Malawian and international companies that qualified for a total of $2 million in results-based grant financing through USAid’s Solar Home System Programme.

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The companies selected from a group of 20 companies include Solar Works, Vitalite, Yellow Solar and Zuwa Energy.

Spahn said the programme intended to attract $15 to $22.5 million in private sector investments for Malawi.

“The project is designed to deploy up to 150,000 solar home systems across the country. We are working with several stakeholders to allow solar systems to be installed in many households in the country,” he said.

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USAid Southern Africa Regional Energy Officer, Ashley King, said access to electricity in Malawi was extremely low; hence, the project would increase the number of Malawians that enjoy access to electricity.

She said, compared to neighbouring countries such as Zambia and Tanzania, the Malawian solar market had been slow to mature.

Chief Director in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Chimwemwe Banda, said, considering that only four percent of Malawians in rural areas have access to electricity, the programme would boost the number of people that have access to electricity.

“The international agenda pushes us to have electricity at least at 30 percent rate in the country in 2030. We rely much on hydro-electric power, which is not enough for the country, and what we are doing now is to talk to partners to generate power to help the country meet the target by 2030,” he said.

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