Minister of Natural Resources, Energy, and Mining Bintony Kutsaira has signalled government’s distress to donors and foreign investors over Malawi’s challenges in finding a lasting solution to persistent power outages that are crippling the economy.
The minister has since appealed for a $2.5 billion (about K2 trillion) rescue package in form of foreign investment to boost the country’s power generation and supply capacity.
Kutsaira made the call on Tuesday during the inauguration of a three-day Taiyuan Energy Low-Carbon Development Forum underway in Taiyuan, the capital of north China’s Shanxi Province.
He said the investment is significant for Malawi, whose growth domestic product (GDP) is currently at $5.4 billion (about K4 trillion).
Said Kutsaira: “Raising the necessary funding from a range of sources can drive rapid change in Malawi’s energy sector. There is need for the Government of Malawi, development partners, investors and the private sector to converge on a shared agenda to unlock investment in the energy sector.”
The minister said this investment would triple generation capacity to 1 200 megawatts [MW] from the current 361MW while adding 1.2 million new grid connections.
Kutsaira said a boost in Malawi’s power production would help the country achieve United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 while mitigating the adverse impacts of climate change.
SDG Goal 7 urges governments worldwide to boost their commitments to provide universal access to modern, reliable, affordable and sustainable energy by 2030.
The minister cited the commissioning of solar photovoltaic (PV) plants in selected parts of the country as one of the key projects on the government agenda to de-risk the power sector and crowd-in further funding.
“Public funding and subsidies will also be required while government guarantees and climate finance are expected to leverage funding from commercial sources,” he said.
Malawi is currently facing acute power supply challenges, with Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) rationing power for about six hours every day.
Earlier, Chinese vice-premier and guest of honour Han Zheng told delegates to enhance cooperation in energy security, clean energy and infrastructure to support the global realisation of the UN 2030 SDG Agenda.
“China attaches great importance to clean energy security and stands ready to deepen cooperation with all parties to promote green growth, construct a community with shared future for humanity,” he said.
The China forum was attended by high-level diplomats from China, Africa, Asia and the United States themed Energy Revolution: International Cooperation.