Energy expert Grain Malunga says under-investment in the energy sector continues to block Malawi’s vision of boosting electricity access by 2030.
His sentiments follow a recent energy progress report jointly done by International Energy Agency, International Renewable Energy Agency, United Nations Statistics Division, the World Bank and the World Health Organisation which indicates that Malawi is among four countries in Africa with the worst electricity access.
In an interview on Saturday, Malunga said Malawi has transmission and distribution challenges due to under investment in the energy sector.
He said: “We have for the past five years seen improvement in access to electricity through Malawi Rural Electrification Programme and not Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi [Escom].
“Escom needs functional review and independence in decision making for it to be more relevant.”
In a separate interview, Consumers Assocation of Malawi executive director John Kapito said lack of a serious investment in energy generation has resulted in poor access and affordability challenges.
“Our electricity generation remains one of the poorest and lowest in the regions and these are made worse by the highest tarrifs,” he said.
In a statement accompanying the report, the World Bank said the Covid-19 pandemic impact, including lockdowns, disruptions to global supply chains and diversion of fiscal resources to keep food and fuel prices affordable, have affected the pace of progress towards the Sustainable Development Goal of ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy by 2030.
Reads the statement in part: “Advances have been impeded particularly in the most vulnerable countries and those already lagging in energy access.”
The bank said the impact of Covid-19 on energy has been compounded the Russian-Ukrain war, which has energy prices soaring.