Minister Matola bemoans low levels of access to electricity among Africans

Minister of Energy Ibrahim Matola has bemoaned low level of access to electricity among Africans.
Matola was speaking on Tuesday during the official opening of 57th Association of Power Utilities of Africa (APUA) under way in Lilongwe.
He said access to electricity among Africans remains a major challenge because of mainly inadequate capacity and poor infrastructure among other things.

Minister of Energy Ibrahim Matola bemoaned low level of access to electricity in Africa
“These meetings come at a very critical time as we seek to find means to increase our generation capacities and improve our infrastructure so that our people can have electricity,” he said.
Matola said the continent has the least access to electricity while the world aims to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.”
According to him, around 600 million people in Africa still lack access to electricity, with 590 million of them in sub-Saharan Africa.
Matola added that the continent distribution and transmission networks also remain largely underdeveloped, characterized by old equipment and technologies that are susceptible to high network losses.
Even more, he said, there is insufficient energy generation so that the continent is not able to meet its energy demands.
Some international delegates at the 57th APUA conference in Lilongwe

Indeed, Matola said, while energy demand in Africa has been increasing at an annual rate of around 3%, the highest among all continents, its energy supply continues to lag significantly.

Many African countries are, therefore, experiencing recurrent electricity outages and load shedding has become the norm, he observed.
The minister said all these challenges are very costly to African countries economies.
“Without sufficient, sustainable and reliable energy, African economies will not develop. This does not only affect businesses and economic growth, but also the quality of life of many of our citizens,” he said.
Despite energy challenges Africa faces, he said, it also provides a lot of energy opportunities as the continent as a whole is endowed with energy resources such as solar, wind, hydropower and geothermal – each and every country has promising energy resources sufficient for its social and economic development.
He said: “The continent has, for instance, the highest untapped hydropower potential in the world, with an estimate of only 11% of its potential being utilized.”
Similarly, the potential of solar, bioenergy, wind and geothermal energy is also significant but only a fraction is being exploited.
Matola said there is a need, therefore, to look at Africa’s energy challenges in light of its opportunities adding that this is why such engagements are essential because they provide the opportunity for to not only discuss the challenges that we face, but also come up with solutions.
APUA Director General, Abel TELLA said as a continent they will still discuss energy access in Africa as well as collaboration for increased investment to develop Africa and energy policy in Africa.
“This will ensure sustainable development for Africa,” he said.
Egenco Chief Executive Officer William Liabunya called for more investment in the energy sector to unlock its potential as a driver of Africa’s economic growth.

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