Ministry of Energy says about 200 000 households are expected to benefit from the World Bank-funded Malawi Electricity Access Project (Meap) which aims at increasing access to solar electricity.
Speaking in an interview yesterday, the ministry’s spokesperson Upile Kamoto said the project, which is expected to provide funding to eligible off-grid solar firms to reach rural areas, will be rolled out on March 11 in Lilongwe.
She said the two-year project will be implemented in remote and rural areas and will provide a capital loan of $14 million (about K14 billion) to eligible off-grid solar firms that will ensure that small businesses expand.
Said Kamoto: “The project will be implemented by Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi [Escom] and Ministry of Energy to increase access to solar electricity in the country and raising eligible off-grid solar companies which will also boost solar markets.
“We have planned that by June 4 2024, the eligible off–grid solar companies should reach all targeted households in remote and rural areas.”
In November last year, Escom signed a $150 million (about K155 billion) loan the Malawi Government secured from the World Bank to boost distribution network to connect more Malawians to the national grid.
In a statement, Escom then said out of the $150 million loan, the sole power supplier will be responsible for $105 million (about K86 billion) while the remaining $45 million (about K37 billion) will be a responsibility of the Malawi Government.
“Malawi Electricity Access Project is an intervention prepared by the Government of Malawi to increase the number of people having access to electricity,” reads a statement from Escom.
On the other hand, Ministry of Energy says the project is expected to boost the country’s electricity coverage from the current 11 percent to 30 percent in line with Malawi 2063, the country’s long-term development plan.
Through the project, Escom will connect about 90 000 customers annually up from the current 60 000, according to the statement. A recent study by the Economic Commission for Africa found that Malawi and four other African countries have either stagnated or reversed in electricity access.