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Electricity in Malawi in 2021

Global Ranking: #88
83.8% #21 Low-carbon electricity
8.15 watts #203 Generation / person
131.62 gCO2eq/kWh #25 Carbon Intensity
None Electricity imports

According to the data for the year 2021, Malawi generated an average of just above eight watts per person for its electricity consumption, a number considerably lower than the global average of 412 watts per person. The majority of this generation was from low-carbon sources, making up almost seven watts per person. Of these low-carbon sources, hydropower was the most significant, delivering around 5.74 watts. Solar power also provided a substantial contribution, nearly one watt per person, whereas biofuel energy was minimal. Fossil fuel energy generation was relatively low in Malawi at about 1.32 watts per person. The significantly lower than average electricity generation in Malawi implies a lower energy consumption rate, which could potentially slow technological advancements and impact economic growth. Notably, Malawi neither imports nor exports electricity, meaning it relies entirely on its own production.


To augment its low-carbon electricity generation, Malawi may consider maximizing its solar power facilities, given that it already has fundamental infrastructure in place. Furthermore, countries such as Australia and Chile, which generate notable amounts of solar electricity, could be used as models for expansion. In addition to solar power, Malawi might also take lessons from nations successful in both nuclear and wind energy production. Countries like Denmark and Sweden have successfully harnessed wind energy, and while they are fundamentally different from Malawi in many respects, certain aspects of their strategies could be applicable. Conversely, leveraging nuclear energy could offer a significant boost to the country's low-carbon energy generation. Countries like France and Sweden could serve as excellent models for creating a successful and safe nuclear energy program.


The history of low-carbon electricity in Malawi predominantly revolves around hydropower, with it being the central energy source since the 90s. There were slight increases in hydroelectricity in the early years, peaking at 0.3TWh in 2010. This incremental growth continued until 2017 when hydroelectricity generation saw a decline for the first time. The declining trend carried on into 2018 where it dropped by 0.5 TWh, signifying a steep decrease. Unlike how it had been in the early years, there were no significant increases to compensate for this drop, which reflects a critical impediment in hydropower's role in electricity generation in Malawi. On the bright side, there was the introduction of other types of low-carbon energy: biofuels were introduced in 2000 but didn't see significant growth, whereas solar power was introduced in 2019 and continues to show promise as an alternative source of low-carbon energy.

Data Sources

For the years 1980 to 1989 the data source is EIA.
For the years 1990 to 1999 the data sources are EIA and Enerdata (imports/exports).
For the years 2000 to 2021 the data source is Ember.