THE ENERGY SUMMIT WAS A SUCCESS, SAYS CEM
As the confetti for the just ended Bankers Association of Malawi (BAM) Energy Summit, which took place from November 13 – 14, 2018 at the BICC in Lilongwe, is just settling down, stakeholders have weighed in on the summit. Community Energy Malawi (CEM), as one of the Malawian organizations that has projects on energy, participated. From the summit, it took home the understanding that, finally, the banking sector in Malawi has seen the potential and is willing to invest in renewable energy.
CEM participated under the banner of Green and Inclusive Energy (GIE) which is a project partnership of five organizations in Malawi, namely; CEM itself, Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO), Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN), National Association of Business Women (NABW) and Renew’N’Able Malawi (RENAMA). NABW’s Barbara Banda, in her capacity as Chairperson NGO Gender Coordination Network, Malawi presented on Resurrecting from the Kitchen Cemetery: Modern Technologies – Breath of Life. Among others, the guest of honor at the summit, Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Aggrey Massi, Chief Executive Officers and Board Chairperson for Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) and Bankers Association of Malawi (BAM), had time for GIE pavilions where they learnt about the project.
Speaking after the summit, CEM’s Country Director, Edgar Kapiza Bayani, said the event was in a nutshell a success and hope of great things to come.
“For the first time we have the banking sector in Malawi willing to invest in renewable energy. It shows that renewable energy’s brighter days in Malawi are around the corner. This is what we have always hoped for,” he said.
With a struggling power generation and supplying, investing in renewable energy will bring valuable addition of power to the national grid. Presently, only 11 percent of Malawians are connected to the national grid, with 2 percent of these in rural areas. The coming in of the banking sector means diversification in investment.
“Investment remains the greatest challenge. If the banking sector can come in, there is a whole lot of untapped market,” added Bayani.
But the real success of the summit will be seen in what will come out of it. From the presentations, it was clear that there is more to be done to meet Malawi’s energy needs. Even though the summit was for business – making money, the expected investment goes beyond that. At the end of the day, we need Malawians to have energy which is always available and empowers them to pursue their other needs.