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RERA bemoans low access to electricity in SADC
May 16, 2024 / Marcel Chimwala

The Regional Energy Regulators Association of Southern Africa (RERA) has expressed concern over low access to electricity in some countries in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region.

RERA Executive Director Elijah Sichone raised the concern when the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) in conjunction with RERA held a series of meetings in Lilongwe aimed at advocating for access to electricity in SADC.

RERA is a formal association of independent energy regulators whose establishment was approved by SADC Ministers responsible for Energy in Maseru, Lesotho, on July 12, 2002.

RERA Executive Director Elijah Sichone said that it is important for the region is to address the issue of low access to electricity and also ensure power utilities are given cost reflective tariffs.

Sichone said: “As RERA we want to contribute to address the issues of access to electricity and one of them is to make sure that utilities such as ESCOM are given tariffs that are cost reflective, tariffs that will enable them to invest in expanding access.”

“We understand that expanding the grid to all parts of the nation is expensive, and as RERA we use our mentions to ensure that the whole population has access to electricity, and one of the mentions is mini grid.”

“This means having those areas without access to main grid having what we called solar home systems where you install solar systems to those houses at a fee to expand the access to electricity.”

Sichome, however, said it is encouraging that despite several countries in the region including Malawi having low access to electricity, some countries have managed 100% access

He said: “Access to electricity in the SADC region varies. We have member states in the SADC region who have done very well having access of 100% and we have other members who have not done very well in terms of access with very low figures.”

“We have Ireland countries like Mauritians and Seychelles having 100% access to electricity and also inland countries like Malawi having very low access to electricity. But general in the region we are at the order of 50% access to electricity,” he said.

In her remarks, MERA Consumer Affairs and Public Relations Manager, Fitina Khonje lauded the meetings saying they will provide a platform for in-depth discussions on recent regulatory and energy sector developments.

The meetings focused on on economic and technical regulation of the electricity, fuel and gas sectors, consumer services and communication, finance and audit, legal and legislative as well as human resource matters within the SADC energy regulation industry.

Khonje said: “These annual meetings are important because regional cooperation is not just for energy sector or regional interconnectors but for us to share information, experience on how we can regulate the energy sector.”

“Our role is to ensure that we balance appropriately the interests of operator and consumers. Operators should be able to run efficiently and consumers should have liability of supplies.”

“Though we are trailing in terms of access to electricity, the country is making progress in making sure that the population is connected to electricity.”

“For example the Malawi Energy Access Project (MEAP) has helped ESCOM to offload some of the back lops it has had in terms of connecting customers to electricity.”

Among others, RERA is mandated to facilitate a regional energy market that is efficient, integrated, harmonized, sustainable and investment friendly; develop and enhance the capacity of regulators; promote universal access to modern, clean, reliable, quality, and affordable energy services.

Apart from Malawi, other RERA member regulators are from Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe

Illovo Malawi ponders investing in power generation
November 30, 2023 / Admin

Illovo Malawi Sugar Group says it is exploring the possibility of investing in power generation.

In the extracts from the audited financial statements for the year ended August 31 released on November 29, 2023 signed by Chairman Jimmy Lipunga and MD Lekani Katandula, the Group says it wants to develop a power supply scheme with the potential to supply excess power to the national grid and other major projects, thereby ensuring robust business improvement and fair returns for all stakeholders.

Lipunga and Katandula reports that the Group is currently in negotiations with the Malawi Government regarding water abstraction from the Shire Valley Water project.

“The refinement of approaches to the agricultural recovery program, factory optimization initiatives, cost reduction efforts, and execution of commercial strategies will remain pivotal to the group’s efforts to continually grow and transform the business,” say Lipunga and Katandula.

They state that the group acknowledges the valuable contributions of its people and will continue to invest in talent growth and development for the benefit of both the business and the Malawian Community.

Meanwhile, Illovo’s business’s profitability continues to be impacted by the ongoing depreciation of the local currency, the Kwacha, against major trading currencies; significant increases in electricity and diesel prices; global supply chain disruptions for essential commodities on account of geo-political tensions adverse economic and climatic factors; regulatory changes; and other external shocks.

“The Group will persist in implementing strategies to ensure resilience and growth remain fundamental to its operations, with a particular emphasis on safety as a foundation for achieving these objectives”, reads the statement

The Group reported K272 billion in revenue for the year, setting a new record-high for the group representing a notable 46% increase over prior year. Profit before tax was recorded at K81.8 billion, represented a 113% growth over the previous year.

Malawi to put to tender oil exploration blocks
February 24, 2024 / Wahard Betha

The Malawi Government says it will put to tender the country’s vacant petroleum and gas exploration blocks once the Ministry of Mining finalises revising the previously demarcated blocks.

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs says in the 2023 Annual Economic Report that since 2020 and following relinquishment of exploration licenses by investors due to Covid-19 pandemic, foreign investors are showing interest to occupy the tenements.

The report states that as per law, the companies that closed their offices in the country surrendered their findings to the Ministry of Mining making it easier for new investors to continue from where they stopped.

Reads the report: “The Ministry is working on revising the previously demarcated exploration blocks and once this is finalized, the petroleum exploration licenses will be tendered for investors to access.”

“Historically, Malawi has never produced oil and gas, however, in the decade between 2010 and 2020, several investors have shown interest in Malawi’s oil and gas resources by conducting exploration activities which have revealed that the country has the potential to produce both offshore and onshore oil and gas.”

“Though the investors relinquished their exploration rights due to economic constraints caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, geological data and information was passed on to the Ministry of Mining as required by the law.”

Besides potential for oil and gas, Malawi has a diverse mineral resource base consisting of energy minerals – coal and uranium; industrial minerals such as rare earth elements, bauxite (source of aluminium), and heavy mineral sands bearing titanium; niobium, tantalum, construction materials – rock aggregates (such as granite), clay, limestone; and precious metals and stones mainly gold and gemstones.

Many of the mineral resources have previously been explored and evaluated by Government and private investors whereby a wealth of geological data is available for investors to work with to develop economically viable mining operations.

The report says REE exploration in the country is showing significant potential as evidenced by exploration results by Lindian Resources Limited, an ASX-listed company running Kangankunde Project in Balaka district.

It says the tremendous results provide opportunities for investors into the project as well as other sites around the project that may have mineral potential.

The country has also made several gold discoveries being operated by Artisanal and Small-scale Miners (ASMs) in recent years but a definite exploration work is yet to conclusively define a significant gold resource viable for medium to large-scale operations.

“While the Ministry of Mining will continue to facilitate the formalization of existing small-scale mining groups, licensing regime is open to local individuals and registered bodies interested in participating in the sector,” reads the report.

Other notable mineral resources under development are rutile found in Lilongwe, which is a source of titanium; heavy mineral sands located in the lakeshore area of Mangochi and Salima bearing titanium, zircon, and other industrial minerals; and graphite in Lilongwe, which has vast industrial applications for example in batteries and lubricants.

The report also stresses that the Malawi Government continues to undertake a number of interventions to foster productivity, transparency, and accountability of the sector so that it contributes significantly to inclusive wealth generation and economic growth in line with the 2063 Vision.

Some of the key interventions include: maintaining public engagement on mining issues through social media, mainstream media, and other public forums; licensing and training of mining cooperatives and associations with a focus on health, safety, environmental management, and compliance with reporting and payment obligations for license holders.

The report also says the Government will proceed in negotiating and finalizing Mining Development Agreements with investors on key projects such as Kayerekera Uranium Mine (Lotus Resources), and Songwe Hill Rare Earths Project (Mkango Resources).

It further adds that the country has the interest to support mineral exploration programmes with quality data and technically competent personnel, while providing technical and statutory guidance to proponents; review the Mines and Minerals Policy to create a more attractive investment climate in the country; review the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act, including the subsidiary legislation and; review the Explosives Act including the subsidiary legislation.

“The Government will also operationalize National Mining Investment and Development Corporation to facilitate Public Private Partnerships, as well as finalize geo-mineral resource mapping across the country,” the report reads.

Since 2021, the mining sector has been growing due to a conducive legal and regulatory environment for the participation of all interested players, both local and international.

Malawi 2063 identifies mining as a key driver to the economic development of the country under the industrialization pillar in the country’s effort to achieve the upper-middle income status by the year 2063.

Mining has tremendous potential to support industrialization in Malawi which the report says has not been fully harnessed.

The sector contributes only one percent to national income, an indication of the need for more policy reforms to improve legal and regulation framework; administrative procedures, and building capacity to enhance oversight and local participation.

Escom power outage chokes Milepa businesses
February 19, 2024 / TAYANJAH-PHIRI

Business operators and residents of Milepa Trading Centre in Chiradzulu have expressed concern over a prolonged power outage in the area saying it is choking their businesses and creating insecurity in the area.

The area has had no electricity power since early November, a situation they allege has caused many to deplete their business capital and gains, as well as acute damage of household fresh supplies.

“Just imagine, some of us in the business of barbershops and showing videos have been relying on petrol and diesel generators; but considering the high cost of fuel, this is unsustainable. We are forced to do so because we have families to take care of, food to buy and wages to pay; this is unfair, ESCOM has choked our businesses and is killing us slowly, as our capital is gone and livelihood is threatened,” said Frank Matimati, who operates several barbershops, video showing business and a video burning outfit.

He further complained that he uses 7-Litres of fuel per day which is contributing to losses considering a litre of petrol cost costs around K2, 500.

“ESCOM is not being human as we have had no power from November to date, they have to find a solution,” he complained.

Chair for Milepa Business Operators, who is also a prominent maize mills’ operator in the area, Mc Brazio Mandawala, also extremely lamented over the delay by ESCOM to fix the problem caused by a scorched transformer, which he said has left the active trading centre in the dark, even during the peak business times of Christmas and New Year.

“It is worrisome that our confidence in the State electricity company is being taken for granted by some officials within the system. Just imagine, they brought us a small transformer, without the right specifications of our power demand here, and it burnt few hours after it was installed – now we do not know what they are thinking about us,” he said.

Mandawala, who is also Group Village Head Likhotho of the area, feels it would be fair for ESCOM to convene a meeting with the locals and business captains of the area, to explain what the company is doing about it.

He said: “People have lost their capital because of this problem, and that means they have lost their sore livelihood source. So, when we say that the ESCOM officials’ acts are inhuman, you should understand,” he said, stressing that the people of the area, along with members of the business community, are planning a massive demonstration against the power supply company, to showcase their bitterness.

“We soon intend to walk all the way to the District Council Offices, many kilometres away, then all the way to ESCOM offices in Blantyre, to express our bitterness. It is sad that some duty bearers do not have a human heart, they enjoy the suffering of others,” he said.

However, in an interview on Wednesday ESCOM’s Spokesperson Kitty Chingota said the company is aware of the problem and working hard to procure transformers that suits the specification of power supply in Milepa and other numerous places with the same problem.

“We are indeed aware of the Milepa problem, and we are very sympathetic of their problem. We ordered transformers of the right specifications, and are awaiting delivery so that we erect in such places – by the way, there are many other places that needs such transformers, but we are doing everything possible that our customers be serviced appropriately,” she said.

Chingota explained that the problem mostly is that such transformers are imported and they are not normally found readily available on suppliers’ counters, hence their manufacturing comes in after the orders are placed.

Automated system to enhance efficiency in Malawi’s power supply
November 09, 2023 / Bester Kayaye

Malawi’s power stability is expected to improve following the launch of the country’s first-ever Automatic Generation Control (AGC) system which is aimed at automating generation controls and boosting customer care services.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded Southern Africa Energy Programme (SAEP) to implement AGC whose end-users are Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) and Electricity Generation Company (EGENCO).

The AGC system adjusts the output of generating units in response to changes in the load demand and system conditions while also allocating load demand among available units in a cost-effective way.

This is achieved by adjusting the output of the generating units according to the changes in the load demand and the system conditions.

Speaking in Blantyre during the launching ceremony, a representative of ESCOM’s board chairperson, Jacob Muzalale, emphasized the significance of adopting the innovation saying the technology is vital as it allows the company to serve more customers easily as well as manage power supply and demand loads.

Muzalale said: “The launch is very important to us as ESCOM since one of our objectives is to provide a reliable supply of power, so reliability comes with a continuous supply of power to our customers. AGC is here to automate the process of communication between the supply and the demand including the management, and will go a long way whereby instead of manually calling technicians to increase or decrease the power supply the system will be done automatically hence improving power reliability.”

CEO for EGENCO Maxon Chitawo hinted that the new AGC system has been adopted to bring a balance between the power supply and load demand, frequency as well as power interchange with other systems.

Chitawo said; “The AGC is there to balance the power supply to the end users, we generate it in EGENCO then ESCOM takes it from us to transmit and distribute to the end users but within the system, there is variability in terms of loads through which they are deployed. Example one; a customer may switch on his maize mill while the other may be switching off so that causes an imbalance in the system in terms of frequency, so this AGC is there to control the frequency whereby when the load rises our generators should pick up and when it decreases our system should also produce less in line with the demand.”

“This is a good development as previously we were relying on making phone calls to give commands on the specified power to supply so it was inefficient. The motion has also rekindled the mutual working relationship with ESCOM as we both serve the same people.

“EGENCO is also set to introduce another system called the generation control monitoring system which will be used to measure water levels in all our hydro-generation sites so that we are always well-informed and make necessary adjustments.”

Previously, ESCOM managed generation control through its National Control Centre with EGENCO performing a similar task through its Generation Control Centre whereas local power plant operators do so through their generation sites using telephones.

Minister of Energy Ibrahim Matola expressed excitement with the development saying the innovation signifies the visionary leadership the country has to transform the economy through the creation of a robust energy sector as a pillar that holds productive sectors.

Matola said: “Initially, we were losing time as ESCOM used to wait for customers to call so that they are made aware of where the fault is but with AGC, the system will be able to reflect and detect all fault areas and have them rectified effectively therefore achieving optimum efficiency on time and resources.”

“So it is imperative that we experience such innovations in the energy sector as it is the pillar that holds all other productive sectors.”

The introduction of the AGC system is in line with ESCOM’s Integrated Strategic Plan for the period 2023 to 2027 launched in Lilongwe last week under the theme: ‘Driving value by building positive stakeholder relationships and partnerships.’

AGC also coordinates the economic dispatch of the generating units, which means allocating the load demand among the available units in the most cost-effective way.

Mchenga seeks strategic investors for coal fired power plant project
September 25, 2023 / Bester Kayaye

Mchenga Coal Mine is scouting for strategic investors in the development of its 100MW Rukuru Coal Fired Power Plant, which is expected to be constructed close to the M1 Road in Rumphi within the vicinity of the coal mining site.

Mchenga Coal Mine GM Lincoln Bailey is quoted in the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (MITC) Investment Projects Compendium Volume 4 as saying that they are seeking equity partners to invest in development of the plant which will comprise two power generating units (each with a rating capacity of 50 MW) fuelled by coal largely from the Mchenga Mine mixed with coals from other mines.  

Bailey explains that the project which is planned to supply power to the national grid will be executed in two phases, with the initial 100MW capacity representing the first phase of a targeted 250MW plant.

“Critical to the project’s success is the construction of the new Bwengu Substation, situated 65 kilometers south of the project site, adjacent to the M1 Road, and a 132kV outgoing transmission line linking the power plant to the new Bwengu Substation,” he says.

A feasibility study conducted by leading engineering consulting Fichtner indicates that the project can be effectively integrated into the national power grid, pending the negotiation and signing of a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM).

Bailey says: “The CPL-Mchenga coal mining operations, a key supplier of coal for the Rukuru Power Plant, are situated in the Livingstonia Coalfield in Rumphi District, approximately 20 kilometers north of Mzuzu, Malawi’s northern capital. The power plant itself will be strategically positioned just 500 meters from Lake Malawi, making it a significant contributor to the region’s power needs.”

“The Rukuru Power Plant project aligns with the government’s objectives of economic development and energy security. Malawi currently grapples with a severe power deficit, hampering its economic growth and development. By supplying firm baseload power to the national grid, the Rukuru Power Plant aims to address these issues and meet the escalating demand for electricity in the country.”

“The project is not only economically viable but also promises numerous social benefits, including improved electricity supply reliability. It is poised to contribute substantially to the nation’s energy security, fostering a conducive environment for business growth and prosperity.”

He says in order to bridge the project’s funding gap, the project promoters are seeking a term loan of US$146.4 million while equity and strategic investors are also being courted to support the endeavor’s financial needs.”

Meanwhile, the Rukuru Power Plant project has already achieved significant milestones, including signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Malawi government and an Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) Contract with Power Construction Corporation of China.

“Additionally, a Memorandum of Understanding and Power Purchase Agreement Term Sheet has been agreed upon with ESCOM,” says Bailey.

The project has undergone rigorous feasibility assessments, including a bankable feasibility study, financial model development, and an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA). While a Partial Risk Guarantee from the African Development Bank (AfDB) was initially secured, it was later withdrawn due to pressure from the AfDB’s European and American funders who have imposed bans on coal-related funding.

The Rukuru Power Plant project demonstrates a promising Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of 10.2%, a Net Present Value (NPV) of US$27,893,761, and a Payback Period of 10.8 years.

In a related development, a locally registered firm Lone Star Energy is also scouting for investment partners to embark on the construction of a coal fired power generation plant in Rumphi district.

Listing on the Malawi Investment and Trade Center (MITC) investment projects compendium volume 4, the company is seeking a minimum investment of $90-million to fund the procurement and installation of a state-of-the-art power plant in the picturesque district of Rumphi.

MD for Lone Star Energy John Swira says the ambitious endeavor, which is poised to transform the energy landscape in Malawi, offers a unique opportunity for investors to engage in a low-risk venture with promising annual returns.

Swira explains that Lone Star Energy has already demonstrated its commitment by investing over $10-million to date and has received the green light from the Malawi government to conduct a comprehensive feasibility study.

He says: “The project has now reached a pivotal stage where it can extend its hand to new investors, offering them the prospect of owning a substantial share of Lone Star Energy Ltd, a Malawian registered company poised to revolutionize the energy sector in the region.”

“The ownership stake on offer ranges from 40% to 60%, providing investors with a significant influence on the company’s direction and future profitability.”

“One of the most significant beneficiaries of this venture will be the government of Malawi itself, as it has been earmarked as the primary buyer of the electricity generated by Lone Star Energy. This initiative is anticipated to address the acute shortage of electricity in the country, acting as a catalyst for economic growth across all sectors.”

Energy Symposium recommends resumption of oil exploration in Malawi
September 25, 2023 / Wahard Betha

There is need for Malawi to seize the opportunity to diversify its energy sources by, among other things, explore for oil and gas in the country’s East African Rift System whose potential for discovery of hydrocarbons has long been known.

This is contained in a keynote speech which was delivered by University of Malawi Vice Chancellor Sunduzwayo Madise at an Energy Symposium that was held at Bingu National Convention Centre in Lilongwe.

The symposium, which was held with the theme ‘Optimising Energy, Oil, and Gas Exploration and Production in Malawi,’ also marked the launch of the Centre for Strategic Studies by the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) in conjunction with Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) in collaboration with National Planning Commission.

The Centre will undertake strategic studies including geological studies that are crucial in fulfilling the Malawi 2063 Vision to transform into “An Inclusively Wealthy and Self-reliant Nation.”

Madise, however, called on all stakeholders in the extractive sector to tread cautiously and ensure that any exploration activity on Lake Malawi is guided by rigorous scientific analysis and adherence to environmental protection measures.

He said: “While exploration in other East African countries has yielded promising results, Malawi remains relatively unexplored.”

“However, we must tread cautiously, keeping in mind our commitment to environmental stewardship and the preservation of our natural heritage.”

“We must take a pragmatic and strategic approach to explore and develop our energy resources. As we venture into the potential of drilling in Lake Malawi, we are acutely aware of the environmental and ecological concerns.”

“This pristine ecosystem is home to a rich biodiversity and sustains the livelihoods of over 1.5 million people. The impact on local communities and heritage sites must be thoughtfully considered.”

Madise pointed out that Lake Malawi is one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world that presents the country with both opportunities and challenges.

He said the lake’s sanctuary of biodiversity, supports unique ecosystems and provides livelihoods for millions of Malawians.

Madise said: “Any exploration and drilling activities must be conducted with utmost care and adherence to stringent environmental standards.”

“We must prioritize onshore exploration and consider directional drilling as the first choice under the lake, mitigating potential risks and ensuring the protection of this invaluable resource.”

“However, as we embark on this journey, we must also manage expectations. Oil and gas exploration is a long and complex process that requires time, investment, and global market dynamics to align favorably.”

“While we may envision substantial wealth from our natural resources, we must remain grounded in the reality of the challenges and uncertainties that lie ahead.

“We must diversify our economy and strengthen other sectors while developing our energy resources sustainably.”

Madise also explained that in as far as optimization of energy, oil, and gas exploration and production is concerned, stakeholders must also address the broader context of national development agenda.

The country’s goal of becoming an inclusively wealthy and self-reliant industrialized upper-middle-income country by 2063 relies on the three inter-linked pillars of agriculture productivity and commercialization, industrialization, and urbanization where by energy infrastructure is a key enabler for the success of these pillars.

Madise said the country needs to explore innovative solutions, establish robust partnerships, and unlock the immense potential that lies within the nation.

He said the country has to foster an environment that attracts investment, encourages research and development, and promotes sustainable practices, to ensure that the energy sector becomes a catalyst for economic growth, job creation, and social development.

He said: “We must attract investment and create an enabling environment for businesses to participate in climate-related sectors and energy projects.”

“We therefore need bankable projects which can attract both foreign and domestic investment. The private sector will not invest in projects that are not sustainable or have no economic potential.”

“Development partners’ support will also play a pivotal role in bolstering our efforts to tackle climate change and adapt to its impacts. But let us be careful lest we dance to the tune of others.”

“Ultimately, our success will be measured not only by economic growth but also by the well-being and prosperity of our people and that we must prioritize social inclusivity, equitable distribution of resources, and environmental sustainability in every step we take.”

Meanwhile, Malawi has six vacant oil and gas exploration blocks in its Great East African Rift Geological Zone after original tenement holders relinquished licenses about three years ago.

Government is yet to advertise the blocks to new investors as it has been preoccupied with developing the legal frame work for oil and gas exploration and production including coming up with a new Petroleum and Production Policy, reviewing the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act 1983 and coming up with a model Petroleum Sharing Agreement.

Mining sector has potential to drive Malawi’s economic growth – World Bank
June 21, 2023 / Wahard Betha

The World Bank says Malawi’s mining sector has the potential to drive the country’s economic growth and address fiscal and foreign exchange constraints currently being faced.

In its 17th edition of Malawi Economic Monitor released in July 2023, the Brettonwood Institution says despite such potential, the sector currently, plays a relatively small role, accounting for less than one percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Reads the report: “Currently, seven larger projects are moving ahead and may begin production before the end of the decade, with many of these likely to produce so-called green minerals necessary to support the energy transition.”

“However, past mining projects in Malawi and elsewhere in the region have often failed to deliver on their promise while projections from mining firms indicate that the sector could play a significant role in the economy, these projections need to be treated with caution at this stage given the many variables that could influence the materialization of these benefits.”

“Moving ahead it will be important to ensure that these assets, which belong to the country, are not squandered.”

The World Bank also acknowledged delays in production saying the tendency and price fluctuations can create significant uncertainty around likely revenue and export outcomes.

It says: “The ongoing debt crisis in Ghana, was the result of, among others, heavy borrowing following the discovery of oil and poor public investment decisions.”

“This means there is need for both incentivizing investment and ensuring that the Government maximizes the fiscal gains from these resources over many years, and spends these resources effectively to benefit the population which will require a stable (but not necessarily low tax) fiscal regime, as well as careful assessments of the potential impact of different incentives.”

“The government is currently reforming the legal and institutional structure to support the sector and in this context, it will be important to ensure that expertise is sought to support negotiations and that all contracts are made public.”

“Malawi’s participation in the Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) creates an important institutional framework to support this.”

On the energy sector, the Bank states that despite having a number of projects in pipeline, Malawi has one of the lowest electricity access rates in the world where by the electricity access rate for 2023 is estimated at 19 percent with severe disparities between urban 42% and rural areas 5%.

The Bank laments that Malawi has set ambitious policy goals in the energy sector, but implementation has often lagged behind.

The Government of Malawi set a goal to achieve universal energy access by 2030 whereby in 2018, it published a revised National Energy Policy (NEP 2018), which serves as the main guiding document for the sector.

NEP 2018 set the target of universal access by 2030, in line with the Government’s commitment to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 7.

This builds on the experiences of longstanding programs to increase electricity access and also incorporates recent programs, such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded “Kick-Starter Program” and the World Bank-funded Malawi Energy Access Program (MEAP).

In 2019, the Ministry of Energy prepared a National Electrification Strategy in line with policies in the NEP 2018 whereby the NES proposes a framework through which the Government will guide accelerated access to households and businesses at acceptable quality and levels of service that is anchored in the priority policies presented in the NEP 2018.

The strategic elements of the NES are organized in four thematic pillars institutional, policy and regulatory, technical and planning, and financial that taken together define the means and processes by which electrification expansion will be implemented.  

Malawi to hold Energy Symposium
July 17, 2023 / Chrissy Fereciah Nkumba

The Centre for Strategic Studies in the Malawi Defence Force in partnership with the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) and the National Planning Commission (NPC) have organized an Energy Symposium to be held on July 18 at the Bingu International Conference Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe.

The solution-oriented symposium will bring together thought leaders and industry experts to assess key issues facing the energy sector with the view to identify measures that will revitalize the country’s energy sector, promote energy stewardship, bolster efficiency and sustainability of power generation, and supply towards accelerating the attainment of zero energy deficit and reduce energy insecurity in Malawi.

The meeting will be co-hosted by Professor Address Malata, Vice Chancellor of Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST); Dr Thomas Chataghalala Munthali, Director General of National Planning Commission (NPC); and General (Dr) Paul Velentino Phiri, Commander of the MDF.

The theme of the Symposium is; “Optimising Energy, Oil and Gas Production in Malawi.

Reads a joint Press Statement by the Centre and MUST: “The Keynote address will be delivered by Prof Robert Rotberg, President Emeritus of World Peace Foundation, Founding Director, Harvard Kennedy School’s Programme on intrastate conflict, and Vice- Chair of integrity initiatives International

The session will include several presentations such as  Industrialisation: Realising Pillar Two of the Malawi 2063; Mapping Expansion of the Malawi Energy, Oil, and Gas Landscape, Energy and National Security; Negotiating Energy, Oil and Gas Agreements , Private sector Involvement in the Energy Sector and The Role of Traditional and Community Leaders in the Energy Sector.