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Electricity in Malawi in 2021

Global Ranking: #157
83.8% #24 Low-carbon electricity
8.15 watts #203 Generation / person
131.62 gCO2eq/kWh #29 Carbon Intensity

As of 2021, Malawi has been generating its electricity primarily from low-carbon sources, with a production of 1.19 terawatt-hours (TWh) annually. The most predominant type of low-carbon energy comes from hydropower, accounting for nearly 85% of total power generation. However, compared to the global average per-person electricity consumption of 410 watts, Malawi's electricity generation is relatively low. The limited electricity generation signifies not only a potential for growth and expansion in the country's energy sector but can also potentially result to slower socio-economic development, constrained industrial growth, and limited access to electricity for a majority of its population.


Considering the healthy contribution of low-carbon technologies to Malawi's total electricity generation, there is substantial potential for expanding these sustainable and green energy sources further. Solar energy generation, although still nascent, is a viable option. Countries like China and India, with 523 TWh and 120 TWh of solar electricity respectively, offer a success model that Malawi can emulate. Even Australia, with a desert climate and vast land area similar to parts of Malawi, has successfully generated 48 TWh from solar sources. By investing in and scaling up solar technologies, Malawi can not only increase its overall electricity generation but also reduce its dependence on hydropower which is susceptible to environmental changes.


On studying the historical data of low-carbon electricity in Malawi, it is apparent that there have been steady yet small increments in hydropower generation from 1992 until 2010, with an aggregate increase of about 1.3 TWh. In the early 2000s, biofuels also made a brief appearance with about 0.1 TWh of electricity generation. However, the subsequent years presented a concerning trend with a decline in hydroelectric power, dropping by 0.5 TWh in 2018 and 0.1 TWh in 2019. Interestingly, it was also in 2019 when solar energy made its debut in Malawi's clean energy mix with a generation of 0.1 TWh. The last decade reveals the urgent need for diversification away from the unstable hydroelectric power and towards steadfast and sustainable low-carbon sources like solar energy.

Electricity Imports and Exports

Balance of Trade

Data Sources

For the years 1980 to 1997 the data source is EIA.
For the year 1998 the data sources are EIA and Enerdata (imports/exports).
For the year 1999 the data source is EIA.
For the years 2000 to 2021 the data source is Ember.
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