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Malawi

Malawi (MW) faces severe energy poverty with only 12.4 percent of 19.65 million Malawians having access to electricity. 93 percent of energy needs are met by biomass, most of which is firewood. Access to affordable clean cooking technologies remains low and limited to urban areas. The majority of the rural population uses three-stone fires which use more firewood and expose women and children to greater health risks. Farmers, last-mile health care facilities and educational institutions all struggle to access energy, which results in low productivity and quality of life.

The government of Malawi is implementing the Malawi 2063 vision and the Energy Policy (2018) among other policy instruments to address these challenges.

Technologies used in this project

  • Improved cookstoves
  • Solar mini-grids
  • Stand-alone systems

Country data

  • People with access to electricity: 147,490*
  • People with access to improved cooking services: 1,540,059*
  • SIs with access to modern energy services: 167*
  • MSMEs with access to modern energy services: 521*
  • *Target achievements until December 2023
The Moses stove producers: successful and respected

Approach

Since 2012, the programme has contributed towards achieving Malawi’s SDG 7 targets and low carbon development pathways through strengthening markets for improved cookstoves (ICS), off-grid solar (OGS) technologies, productive use of energy (PUE) products and services targeting vulnerable households, ultra- poor, semi- urban populations, and sector wide Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

Supply side capacity strengthening activities include de-risking private sector investments through Business Development Support (BDS) and Results-based Financing (RBF). The programme also prioritises awareness raising and public engagement to increase adoption of technologies and demand for products and services.

1. Cooking Component

 EnDev Malawi offers business development support to private enterprises, including marketing and other tools that contribute to the strengthening of the ICS value chains, in order to facilitate the development and strengthening of market for improved cookstoves.  In addition to promoting Chitofu 3in1 for smoking, frying, and parboiling fish as part of PUE, the component advocates for the use and adoption of Mayankho and Rocket stoves in social institutions specifically schools.

2. Solar Component

This component empowers small and medium-sized businesses that sell solar products grow their businesses by offering business development support. It also helps them become more technically and marketing proficient and to advocate for better policies that may help create a more equitable operating environment, increase access, and boost sales.  

3. Productive Use of Energy Component

EnDev Malawi is implementing a European Union Co- Funded Putting Energy to Work component that deploys market-based approaches with targeted demand and supply side interventions, as well as strategic enabling environment measures. Along with increasing demand and awareness for PUE technologies and services on the demand side of the market, it also uses business development services (BDS) and the results-based financing (RBF) mechanism to strengthen the supply side of the market especially MSMEs in rural areas, including those in the commercial, agricultural, and other sectors.

Additionally, EnDev Malawi with Co- financing from the Global Energy Alliance from People and Planet is implementing the Catalysing Distributed Renewable Energy Solutions for Agriculture in Malawi Ag- Energy which supports rural farmers and organised farmer groups/institutions with a range of solar facilities and products.

4. Health Component

Introduced as part of the BMZ COVID 19 response, programme, the component supports the solarisation of health institutions and provision of solar powered refrigerators for vaccination cooling.

5. EnergIce Component

The Icelandic embassy in Malawi co- finances the provision of thermal energy for Social Institutions (SIs), introducing cooking shelters at health facilities and energy-saving stoves in schools. Also provides solar electrification for SIs, targeting schools and health facilities, along with operation and maintenance of systems.  The component also supports the development of fuel-efficient fish processing cookstoves which are being promoted in selected fishing communities.

Learn more about EnDev´s approach

Impact

Improved cookstoves, like the ceramic wood-fired Chitetezo Mbaula, have gradually made it possible for rural and semi-urban households to cook with less firewood. Women are now less exposed to heat and smoke, and they use the extra time they have for other worthwhile pursuits.

In addition to Business Development Support (BDS), EnDev Malawi has been paying small and medium enterprises’ membership fees in the Renewable Energy Industries sector as a means of assisting local businesses in becoming prepared for business and uniting their voice when advocating for various policy proposals and incentives that affect their operating environment.

The increased access to climate friendly, affordable and modern energy is also helping in a small way helping reduce the country’s carbon footprint in line with the revised Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

Additionally, the EnergIce component has proven essential in helping schools enhance their lighting, which has improved student enrolment and administration’s data reporting through use of computer. Some health centres have also been provided with access to energy which proved vital during the recent cholera outbreak as health personnel were able to treat patients in the night and reduce number of deaths. Under the same component, Chitofu 3in1, an effective fish processing stove that reduces post-harvest losses and uses less firewood had been designed and is currently being expanded to new locations. Also, since guardian cooking shelters with solar lighting and Chitetezo Mbaula were built, more women have access to decent facilities for cooking.

More women have access to portable solar pumps for irrigation. Captured by Mathews Malata. @GIZMalawi

In EnDev’s cooking component in Malawi, women make up 80% of all workers employed by local ICS producers. Based on that, gender-specific tools were introduced which require less physical strength, and therefore allow female workers to achieve the same results as male workers. Learn more about EnDev’s gender activities here.

A farmer working who has access to solar energy. An estimated 462,350 more will gain access through ongoing activities by 2025. Captured by Mathews Malata. @GIZMalawi

Energy Access through Demand-Side Subsidies

Funded by the Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS) of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, EnDev’s Energy Access through Demand-Side Subsidies component seeks to develop and pilot Demand Side Subsidy (DSS) mechanisms to facilitate access to modern energy services for vulnerable populations who are currently unable to access commercial off-grid solar and cooking markets.

In Malawi, the DSS pilot aims to bridge the affordability gap for the poorest sections of society, as classified by the Government of Malawi’s United Beneficiary Registry (UBR). The pilot will utilize a results-based financing (RBF) modality and operate within select rural districts.

Go to project page

Download the DSS Malawi Factsheet

Further information

  • For more information on the energy situation in Malawi see energypedia.
  • For more information about accelerating access to sustainable energy see the english or deutsch page.
  • For more information on the RBF project, visit also the United Purpose website.

Other projects

  • Kenya

    EnDev promotes improved cookstoves, its partner SNV facilitates access to off-grid electricity. Both sectors are supported with results-based financing projects.

  • Mozambique

    EnDev supports grid densification and trains participants of the solar products market. On top of that, it strengthens improved cookstove entrepreneurs.

  • Strengthening the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem for Clean Cooking (SEE-CC)

    Switching to clean cooking transforms lives. It improves health, protects the climate, empowers women and helps consumers save time and money.