Malawians who do not use any form of electricity will soon have an opportunity to access the commodity following a Solar Energy Africa Campaign deal that Lilongwe has signed with the UK government at a ceremony held in London last week.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by Malawi President Peter Mutharika and UK’s Minister for International Development, Nick Hurd at The Global African Investment Summit in London.
Energy Africa campaign aims to accelerate universal energy access in sub-Saharan Africa by boosting the continent’s household solar market.
The development comes as a timely intervention to a country which has only 7 percent of the population accessing electricity most of which is hydro-generated and managed by a sole utility firm, Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM).
The agreement will see closer working between the UK and Malawi country to power up the emerging household solar market across the country.
In his remarks, the Malawi leader hailed UK for the initiative saying industrial development in Malawi is dependent on the availability of electricity.
“One cannot speak of mining, commercial agriculture and food security, ICT, or even health and education without energy. Electricity is, in very significant ways, essential for Malawi’s socio-economic development.” Mutharika said.
Taking his turn, Nick Hurd, said: “It is unacceptable that two-thirds of people in Africa do not have access to electricity. Families are forced to rely on toxic, expensive kerosene and children cannot study after dark. On current projections the continent will not have universal energy access until 2080. That is why we must act to kick-start a solar revolution across Africa.” he said adding “And with the cost of solar panels falling, battery technology improving and appliances becoming more efficient, now is the time to invest. British businesses are already combining solar and mobile phone technology to bring clean energy to people in Africa”
The UK government -through its development vehicle, Department For International Development (DFID)- will also implement the campaign in several African countries among which are Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Rwanda.
Together with African governments, investors, businesses, NGOs, think tanks and other donors, DFID will work to increase investment in off-grid energy firms, overcome regulatory barriers, foster innovation, and accelerate delivery of solar energy systems to households across Africa.