7 February 2019, New study launched to identify sustainable energy investment opportunities in Malawi

Investment is vital for sustainable energy to flourish in Malawi and to enable the life changing benefits that electricity brings to areas including education, health care, industry and the economy. A study launched today in Lilongwe, Malawi, will map a way forward for investment in the country’s sustainable energy sector, bringing together vital partners and identifying areas for action.

The study will provide an overview of concrete opportunities to increase investment in sustainable energy in Malawi. A report will be produced in approximately 6 months time which will address how to generate the required public and private investment to reach universal access. Today’s kickoff meeting brought together different stakeholders in the renewable energy sector, to align common goals and discuss lessons learnt and ways forward.

The initiative has been jointly commissioned by the Government of Malawi’s Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining and the United Nations Office of the High-Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS). The Rocky Mountain Institute is carrying out the study and UN Malawi is providing vital support.

“Every Malawian deserves full access to energy, to an adequate and reliable level of power that allows a home to affordably operate, for children to study, food to be kept from perishing, enough for a dignified and healthy life,” said Ms. Fekita ‘Utoikamanu, Under-Secretary-General and High-Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.

“Malawi has an abundance of resources with which a sustainable energy sector could thrive. This study is intended to highlight the areas for investment in order to ultimately achieve energy access for all and leave no one behind as we strive to meet Sustainable Energy Goal 7.”

Currently, only 11% of Malawi’s population has access to electricity, 46% in urban areas and in rural areas this figure is at 2%. At present just 7% of the total energy consumed in Malawi is renewable energy.

“The Government of Malawi, through the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, is very pleased to partner with the United Nations on this timely study. Access to modern energy is an important issue for all Malawians and investment in the modern energy sector is key for the country’s future development,” said Mrs Chimwemwe Gloria Banda, Chief Director for Energy.

As the youngest and fastest-growing continent, Africa’s population will double in the coming decades to some two billion people, and demand for energy will increase accordingly.

To ensure the attainment of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 7 in Africa by 2030, investments of approximately US$ 34.2 billion per year are needed across the continent.

UN-OHRLLS represents vulnerable countries within the UN system. There are 47 least developed countries, 32 of which are in Africa, including Malawi. Least Developed Countries are at the bottom of the development ladder, with low human development, low income and economic growth and high degree of vulnerability. As such they remain at the centre of global development challenges. Reliable access to sustainable energy stands to strengthen multiple elements outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals in areas including climate action, health, education, water and food security and women’s empowerment.

Contact information

Louise Stoddard, UN-OHRLLS – Stoddard@un.org