The Nexus Between Poverty & Energy in Mozambique

Focus on Off-grid Renewable Energy: Mozambique

mozambique microgrid

A road snakes through scenic rural Mozambique

According to the World Bank,  poverty in Mozambique is concentrated in rural areas. The Mozambique government has recently approved the Renewable Energy Strategy, which seeks to boost energy access to rural areas thus fighting the poverty in these communities. The government’s energy-mix plan includes maximizing hydropower while, at the same time, investing in alternative sources of energy. Solar power, in particular, holds much untapped potential, the World Bank reports, adding that the energy-mix plan is set to include 55% renewable energy by 2030. To help achieve these ambitious goals, the organization is supporting the country in a variety of ways.

A recent World Bank article explains that the organization has provided support for planning, policy, and institutional development of Mozambique’s power sector, including efforts to provide rural areas with energy access through off-grid renewable energy solutions. Recent examples include solar SV installed in the provinces of Inhambane, Manica, Cabo Delgado, and Niassa, which connect in total more than 800 medical centers and schools.

Ambitious national strategy forges ahead with WB support

Part of the World Bank’s mission in Mozambique is development of the country’s National Rural Electrification Strategy and investment programs. In partnership with the government’s Energy Fund (FUNAE), the World Bank promotes the use of electric cooking stoves for areas gaining access to alternative energy. Cooking with clean energy reduces the use of wood fuels, thereby reducing deforestation, and protects villagers from the health dangers of cooking with coal.

Electricity charges villagers’ businesses, changes lives

Rural residents of Mozambique are seeing their lives change as the end of energy poverty reduces overall poverty. The World Bank article quotes some villagers describing how their lives have changed since they’ve gained access to power:

My life is not the same anymore,” said a resident of Moamba district who recalls how life has changed for better now that she is no longer limited to firewood and kerosene lamps. “Now that we have electricity, we have been able to earn 5,000 to 7,000 MTs (about $60 to $100) a month [from the sale of baked goods]. We even started to use a conventional oven that allowed us to diversify our products and expand the business.” 

A wood artisan in the Maputo province, whose small business employs about 10 people, happily shares the changes electricity have brought to his business: We are now using electric tools, which means working faster and getting better finishing quality, something that hardly ever happened before. We have bigger orders today, and our lives improved significantly.