Malawi has opportunities to improve her status, invest in energy — UNDP

Though it takes decades for a least developed country to graduate to a middle earner country, Malawi has potential to improve her status through diversification of its energy sources and enhance sustainable development in the country.

UNDP’s Portfolio Manager (Resilience and Sustainable Growth), Andrew Spezowka who presented the report to a cross section of stakeholders

This was revealed during a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s presentation of the 2017 Least Developed Countries (LDC) Report in Lilongwe on Thursday.

There are about 46 countries currently designated by the United Nations as “least developed countries” worldwide.

In the Southern African, Zambia, Tanzania, Malawi and Lesotho make the list, according to the UN’s Committee for Development Policy (CDP) report based on the latest review of March, 2015.

In his opening remarks before the report presentation, UNDP’s Economics Specialist, Patrick Kamwendo, said the “2017 Least Developed Countries” report mainly focused on achieving universal access to energy by 2030.

According to Kamwendo and the UNDP’s Portfolio Manager (Resilience and Sustainable Growth), Andrew Spezowka who presented the report to a cross section of stakeholders, it takes several years for a country in the LDC status to graduate to a middle earner country.

However, Spezowka said Malawi needs to diversify use of her energy sources to include solar, and wind among others in order to improve electricity access, not only to households but also in productive areas like irrigation and the manufacturing industry.

“This is already seen in Malawi through the use of solar power but the country needs to broaden its scope,” advised the UNDP portfolio manager.

Spezowka said Malawi already has opportunities to diverse energy sources of wind, hydro and solar which, if well developed and improved, could not only increase access to electricity but also make it sustainable.

“Malawi should make itself attractive for investors by making access to electricity supply consistent to productive areas. When wooing investors, the energy aspect should be an important part of the discussions,” he added.

Malawi is already making efforts to increase access to electricity for households and institutions by construction of new power substations across the country to increase the national grid.

The government of Malawi has also been implementing a series of projects through the Malawi Rural Electrification Programme (MAREP) to increase access to electricity by rural areas. Currently, it is implementing MAREP Phase 8.

Apart from achieving universal access to energy by 2030, the report also conveys message to least developed countries to have quality energy services to achieve transformational energy access.

These include strengthened electricity systems and integrated energy and development strategies, according to the report.

According to UNDP, countries in the LDC status require an annual investment of 12 billion to 40 billion Dollars (about K8 trillion to K29 trillion) to achieve universal access to electricity by 2030.

UNDP believes with well developed energy production, countries in the LDC status can attract massive investment.

The presentation of the 2017 LDC Report attracted various stakeholders in the energy sector.

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