A new report on access to electricity from the World Bank and other institutions fear that Malawi and other countries are off track on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Number 7.
The goal seeks to ensure universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy by 2030.
The report titled Tracking SDG 7: The Energy Progress Report, released June 1 2022, places Malawi among the top 20 access-deficit countries on electricity, as only 11 percent of the population is connected to the national grid.
The organisations have since challenged Malawi to scale up efforts to integrate universal energy access into national energy transition plans, but also call for radical actions to accelerate the increase of international public financial flows.
The country requires 1 000 megawatts (MW), but the Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) Limited has a total installed generation capacity of 441.95MW, with 390.55MW from hydro power plants and 51.4MW from thermal power plants.
According to the report, all of the world’s 20 least-electrified countries are in sub-Saharan Africa.
Reads the report in part: “All of the world’s 20 least-electrified countries are in sub-Saharan Africa, where a majority of the global unserved population live. South Sudan had the lowest access rate in 2019 (seven percent), followed by Chad (eight percent), Burundi (11 percent), and Malawi (11 percent).
“Electrification lagged notably behind population growth in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Malawi, and Burkina Faso. An annual average of 15 million people gained access to electricity, while the population grew by more than 17 million per year.”
Out of the 11 percent access in Malawi, urban electricity access rate is at 46 percent while rural access rate is at four percent and like in Chad, Syria, and Yemen, growth in access in Malawi was outstripped by the jump in population between 2017 and 2019, says the report.
Between 2010 and 2019, annualised increase in access for Malawi averaged 0.3 points, out of the expected 10 points, placing Malawi among high-impact countries which account for about two-thirds of the global electrification deficit.
World Bank Infrastructure vice-president Riccardo Puliti has since urged governments to scale up efforts to integrate universal energy access into national energy transition plans.
“We believe SDG 7 is and remains an achievable goal and we urge governments and the global community to scale up efforts to integrate universal energy access into national energy transition plans and to focus on the most remote, vulnerable and poorest unserved populations to ensure no one is left behind,” he says.
During the commissioning of the 20MW JCM Golomoti Solar Power Plant on Monday, President Lazarus Chakwera said the country is expected to have 1 000MW by 2025.