Increasing access to clean and affordable decentralized energy services in selected vulnerable areas of Malawi

Lead country


Participating countries


Project status


Implementing period

From May 26, 2015 to November 24, 2020

SDGs addressed by this project

SDG targets

  1. 7.1 Ensure universal access to sustainable, reliable energy
  2. 7.2 Increase share of global renewable energy

Project ID: 5270

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Technical team

  • Energy Programme

Technical area(s)

  • Energy access
  • Renewable Energy


  • Electricity access
  • Type: Off-grid, mini-grids
  • Resource: Hydro
  • Resource: Solar


  • Human altered areas


  • Rural areas

Transformed sector(s)

  • Energy

UNDP role(s)

  • Capacity development / Technical assistance
  • Data collection and analysis
  • Policy advice


  • Capacity building
  • Governance
  • Technology innovation


  • Technical capacity building
  • Institutional capacity building
  • Awareness raising
  • Laws/ Policy/ Plan formulation
  • Institutional framework
  • Clearing house mechanism

Social inclusion

  • Women
  • Local community/CSOs
  • Private sector

Gender equality

  • Awareness raising (on gender)

Gender result effectiveness scale

  • Gender targeted


  • Sci-tech pathway
  • People pathway
  • Systems pathway

Risk reduction target(s)

  • Improve resilience
  • Hazard control/mitigation

SDG target(s)

  • 7.1 Ensure universal access to sustainable, reliable energy
  • 7.2 Increase share of global renewable energy

Conventions and protocols


Private sector(s)

  • Individuals/Entrepreneurs

Hot topic

  • Public-private partnership
  • Multi-stakeholder collaboration
  • Poverty reduction

About this project


Malawi is one of the least electrified countries in the SADC region, with an average per capita consumption of 85 kWh per annum – among the lowest in the world. Provision of sufficient, reliable and clean energy in Malawi is a critical challenge, as recognized by the Government which has put energy as a focus area in both the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy II (MDGS 2011 - 2016) and the Economic Recovery Plan (2012). The demand for electricity by far exceeds the installed capacity and new generation capacity is urgently needed, with the government focused on promoting diversified sources and utilization of the country's abundant renewable energy resources – particularly micro-hydro and solar. Under SE4All the government has committed to ambitious 2015/202 targets for increasing energy access and renewable energy supply.To increase access, effort is needed to develop power plants and mini-grids close to the end users in the rural areas and since financial resources are scarce, investments for new generation can only be leveraged by involving the private sector and social enterprises. Given the more remote locations of many of the communities that need to be served, and the cost reductions in renewable energy technologies, an important vehicle for meeting these targets will be clean energy mini-grids.This project addresses rural electrification barriers in rural Malawi where 96% of people do not have electricity access. The project will scale up and strengthen Malawi's first mini-grid, independent vertically-integrated energy company operated as a social enterprise; provide micro-capital grants and pilot innovative service arrangements for clean energy mini-grids; build capacity on mini-grids and rural electrification at the sub-national and national levels; develop an information clearing house on clean energy mini-grids for project developers; and recommend ways to mainstream mini-grids into national rural electrification financing platforms and energy regulatory frameworks. It is expected that the project will set the stage for mini-grids to play a key role going forward in electrifying rural parts of Malawi, thereby assisting the country in meeting its SE4All targets.Mainstream mini-grids into national rural electrification and energy regulatory framework. It is expected that the CEMREM will provide the basis for mini-grids to play a key role in electrifying rural Malawi.


To increase access to energy in selected remote, rural areas in Malawi by promoting innovative, community-based mini-grid applications in cooperation with the private sector and civil society.

USD $1,825,000

Grant amount

USD $22,785,000

Leveraged amount (co-financing)


Source(s) of fund

Sources of fund


  • Global Environment Facility – Trust Fund ($1,825,000)

Implementing partner(s)

  • Government of Malawi

Related resources

Geospatial information

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Project reports and documentation