Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining has said Malawi Rural Electrification Programme (MAREP) phase nine will start next year in 2019.
The ministry’s spokesperson, Sangwani Phiri disclosed this in an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana) on Friday,
“MAREP phase nine will start in 2019 as currently we are in the extended part of phase 8 which is estimated to be completed towards the end of 2018 and it is expected to reach out to a total of 336 households,” he said.
He added that the programme is impacting positively on the beneficiaries in rural areas because small towns are being developed and most rural areas are being transformed.
On his part, Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA) Executive Director, John Kapito said MAREP is benefitting Malawi because the programme is in line with the country’s development goals.
“In Malawi only 10 per cent of the population has access to electricity and the coming in of MAREP has brought cheaper electricity in the rural areas. It has also increased entrepreneurial activities which require electricity and it has also made education easier in remote areas,” Kapito said.
The CAMA Executive Director, however, bemoaned the low electricity generation capacity which he said doesn’t fit in the rural areas.
“The electricity generation capacity in Malawi is still low and the benefits of the programme have not yet been fully realized in the rural areas since the country is still experiencing some challenges in the power sector,” he said.
MAREP is a long standing initiative to increase access to electricity in rural areas. The programme operates under the Rural Electrification Act of 2004 which has also established the Rural Electrification Fund.