By Bester Kayaye
NBM Development Bank, which is a subsidiary of Malawi’s financial powerhouse National Bank of Malawi (NBM), says it has earmarked funds to lend to enterprises embarking on production of clean and renewable energy.
NBM Development Bank Projects Officer Tothola Gonthi told Mining and Trade Review that under the financing product, the Bank offers long and medium term loans, equity and quasi equity capital, Credit Risk Guarantees and leasing facilities to qualifying Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in line with its strategic objectives and business model.
Gonthi said: “Basically we are financing projects that are trying to deliver clean and renewable energy, including charcoal briquettes in a quest to eliminate use of environmentally hazardous stoves.”
“The development bank has been financing these projects for the past two years, but we commenced full scale financing last year, 2020.”
He said the Bank has not set a limit in terms of amount of funds to be loaned out since it intends to finance as many players as possible as there is a huge market for renewable energy in Malawi catalyzed by the country’s power deficiency.
Gonthi said the Bank will finance enterprises that demonstrate impact in terms of promoting environmental and social-economic sustainability including clean energy projects for low income population such as development of clean stoves for cooking, water purifiers and solar lightning projects.
So far, the Bank has disbursed over K427 million to various players in renewable energy sector including solar system supply retailers.
Gonthi explained: “Basically for one to qualify for our financing opportunity, the enterprises are supposed to be solely dealing in clean and renewable energy, and they have to submit a comprehensive business proposal as it is vital to determine and weigh the prospects of business in proportion to the funds being sought-after,”
“We finance start-ups as well as those that are intending to expand, for example Pan Green Africa which is venturing into charcoal briquettes production, we financed them from start up to the extent they are in production.”
With the minimum amount of capital financing pegged at MK 15 million and Maximum of MK 150 million, the Bank has so far financed over six enterprises which are currently on production phases.
Malawi’s energy sector is one of the most severely constrained in sub-Saharan Africa as less than 10% of the population of 18 million is connected to the national electrical grid. For 80% of the people living in rural areas, access to electricity is less than 1%.
The total installed capacity for power generation in the interconnected grid of Malawi operated by Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) is approximately 362 MW, of which 351 MW is hydropower and 11 MW is power produced from reciprocal engines.
Estimates indicate that shortage of capacity frequently exceeds 60 MW, or over 17% of peak demand in Malawi. With no reserve margin and a stressed system, the reliability and quality of electricity supply is poor.
Malawi depends on domestic generation, as there are currently no significant interconnections to neighboring countries.