Achieving Energy Access for all in Malawi

Malawi is often called the warm heart of Africa for the kindness of its people, and ARC Power has certainly received a very warm welcome from the Government of Malawi. We have spent a productive week in meetings with the Malawian Investment & Trade Centre, Department of Energy Affairs, Department of Environmental Affairs and the Malawian Energy Regulatory Authority.

As our business expands it is time to investigate the next country where ARC Power will begin operations, and we are very excited about the prospects of ARC Power Malawi. The Malawi Rural Electrification Programme under the Department of Energy Affairs has done extensive work to identify those communities that would benefit most from mini-grid development. This level of information and the government’s willingness to engage with the private sector shows their commitment to bringing power to all citizens of Malawi. Access to energy services enables communities to power homes, schools, health facilities and engage in productive activities and businesses.

The Malawian Growth and Development Strategy has described energy as the lifeblood of the economy.

The Malawian government recognises that in order for the country to experience sustainable economic growth and alleviate poverty, all people of Malawi must have access to sustainable and renewable energy. The Malawian Growth and Development Strategy has described energy as the lifeblood of the economy as it serves as a crucial input into all critical social and economic services. Currently 90% of Malawi’s population use wood and charcoal for fuel, accounting for roughly 89% of the country’s energy requirements – 2.8% currently comes from electricity.

The Malawian Rural Electrification Programme under implementation by the Department of Energy (DoE) aims to accelerate rural electrification in Malawi. This programme has taken a strategic view to energy access and has engaged leadership at the District level to provide information to the DoE on areas and communities that do not currently have access to energy. These sites have been verified by the DoE and geo-spatial information has been collected. As such the DoE now has a clear picture of the areas that will benefit from grid extension and those areas that are ideal for off grid technologies such as solar mini-grids. Through information-sharing and partnerships the government will now work with the State Utility and private developers to ensure their vision for universal energy access in Malawi is achieved. ARC Power is excited to be a part of this.