Malawi is a landlocked country of nearly 15 million people in southern Africa bordering Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zambia. The country has a total area of 118,480 km2, of which 20 percent is covered by Lake Malawi. It has a total population of about 14.5 million people with a growth rate of 2.4 percent. The country has a GDP of USD 4.26 billion. Only 9 percent of the general population and 1 percent of the rural population have access to electricity, making it one of the least electrified countries globally. Nearly three quarters of the population lives on less than $1.25 per day.
Malawi is highly vulnerable to climate extremes as a result of a narrow economic base and dependence on natural resources. Some 90 percent of exports depend on foodstuffs and forest products and 80 percent of the labor force is employed in the direct utilization of natural resources sector. However, only 31 percent of the land in Malawi is classified as suitable for rain-fed agriculture. Wood fuel (firewood and charcoal) is the main source of energy for households in the country, accounting for about 90 percent of household energy demand. The heavy dependence on for fuel wood has contributed to serious deforestation and soil erosion, resulting in heavy river siltation creating problems in the generation of hydroelectric power. Although renewable energy technologies are now widely commercially available with prices that are increasingly competitive, Malawi has not been able to fully utilize them.
The Malawi Ministry of Energy has pledged to derive 7% of its total energy supply from renewable sources by 2020.
Malawi has been very proactive in recognizing the challenges of climate change and disaster risk management, and has made provisions in medium-term planning documents and the development of explicit policies. The 2015 floods, which displaced over 250,000 Malawians and led to the declaration of half of the country as a disaster zone, have highlighted the imperative of having effective integrated strategies and necessary budgetary support for implementation of such policies. PPCR resources will be utilized to mainstream climate change considerations into long-term policy making, build institutional capacity for disaster risk mitigation, and facilitate knowledge sharing at multiple scales. SREP funds will address the technical and financial barriers to enabling a robust renewable energy industry in Malawi. With assistance from the CIF and other international institutions, Malawi aims to foster a conducive investment environment for the private sector.