Energy Access in Mozambique
According to the latest SDG7 Tracking report 2021, Mozambique is among the top 20 electricity access-deficit countries from 2010 to 2019. It is also among the top 20 countries with a deficit in access to clean cooking fuels and technologies from 2015 to 2019. In Mozambique, as in Niger, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Madagascar, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, no more than 5% of the population have access to clean cooking technologies and fuels. In the urban areas of Mozambique, however, this number is a bit high with 13% having access to clean cooking fuels and technologies.
Access to grid electricity has increased from 8% in 2006 to 31% in 2018. At the end of 2020 electrification rate increased to 34%. Grid connection is mostly concentrated in urban areas and is scarce in rural areas. In 2019, the rural electrification rate decreased to 5% from 8% in the previous year. Since more than half of Mozambicans lives in rural communities, this poses a challenge to the goal of electrifying all Mozambican households by 2030.
Between 2017 and 2019 the electrification rate in Mozambique outpaced the rate of population growth. However, 21 million Mozambicans still lack access to electricity. Annualised increase in access between 2010 and 2019 was only 1.2%.
This article provides an overview of the energy access situation in Mozambique in three areas: households (lighting and cooking); public institutions, and productive use of energy.
Energy for Households
Energy for Cooking
About 95% of Mozambican households rely on solid biomass for cooking. According to the FinScope survey in 2019, the most common cooking fuels and technologies are firewood (used by 64% of adult population), charcoal (22%), grid electricity (8%), liquefied petroleum gas LPG (3%), solar energy (1%), kerosene (1%), private generator (0.1%), and others (1%). 2% either do not cook or do not use any cooking systems/fuels.
While in 2019, the worldwide difference in access to clean cooking between rural and urban areas has dropped, in sub-Saharan Africa it grew from 23% in 2010 to 29% in 2019. This trend can also be observed in Mozambique where in 2018, access to clean cooking solutions in rural areas was less than 5% in 2019 and in urban areas it was 12%. In 2019, access to clean cooking increased to 13% in urban areas (no data was available for rural areas). Firewood is predominantly used for cooking in rural areas (84% of adult rural population) and its use decreases as income increases. Charcoal is more common in urban areas (44% of the adult urban population). As income rises, the use of charcoal, grid electricity and LPG for cooking increases.
The use of traditional biomass for cooking and heating in closed indoor facilities without proper ventilation has fatal impact on health. When biomass is burnt indoors using open fires and inefficient cookstoves, they release smoke and pollutants such as fine particulate matter (PM2.5), carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides. According to 2014 data from the World Health Organisation, 3.8 million people die yearly from illnesses caused by household air pollution (HAP). The most common cause of death is pneumonia, followed by ischaemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), strokes, and lung cancer. In 2015, it was estimated that HAP caused approx. 18,000 premature deaths and 696,000 disability-adjusted life years in Mozambique. Lack of access to clean cooking technologies also has gendered impact. Women and girls are mostly responsible for carrying fuelwood and are often victims of animal bites or gender-based violence while collecting firewood. Mozambique has lost about 370,000 square kilometres of forests due to unsustainable agricultural practices, urban expansion, and charcoal and timber production. Part of the biomass from deforestation is also used for cooking.
For more information about the impact of lack of clean cooking solutions, please see this article.
For an overview of the efforts to increase access to clean cooking solutions in Mozambique and the status of the market, please see this chapter.
Energy for Lighting
The most common forms of lighting in rural areas include kerosene lamps (17% of the adult population), solar power (14%), candles (12%), lanterns and batteries (7%), and other forms (including fire) (17%). 18% of the adult rural population do not use any kind of lighting at all. As income rises, the use of kerosene, candles, lanterns and other sources (including fire) decreases, while the use of grid electricity increases.
In urban areas, grid electricity is the most common form of lighting (68%) followed by candles (7%), kerosene lamp (7%), solar power (4%), lanterns (2%) and others (7%). 5% lack access to any kind of lighting.
Fuel-based lighting using kerosene lamps and candles are inefficient and often cause fire hazards. The quality of light is also very low and is expensive. Thus, access to affordable, sustainable and quality lighting sources such as grid electricity (when reliable) or off-grid solutions (mini-grids and solar home systems) is needed for improved lighting. There are many initiatives in Mozambique working towards access to energy for households using off-grid solutions (mini-grids and solar home systems) or improving the grid electricity.
For a list of initiatives, please see this article.
Energy for Institutions
Electrification of institutions such as health clinics, schools, shops etc allows the operation of services even after dark. In case of schools, they are able to introduce night classes, thus increasing attendance rates and the schools can also be converted into community centres in the evening. Another way in which institutions benefit from electrification is the possibility to have internet access to improve the quality of their services and promote digital learning. Data from the After Access Survey in Mozambique shows that only 10% of the population uses internet. In hospitals and health institutions, the presence of a cold chain decreases the risk of spoiled vaccines and is key for bringing vaccines such as COVID-19 vaccines to the most remote rural communities. Reliable electricity is also needed for running medical appliances and preventing medical appliance breakdown due to unreliable electricity. Mozambique is also prone to natural disasters such as cyclones, floods and landslides. Thus, access to reliable energy is also needed to power Early Warning Systems. These communication systems make it possible to warn the community before a natural disaster strikes.
Mozambique’s Fundo de Energia (FUNAE) is the public institution responsible for off-grid rural electrification with a special focus on renewable energy. With monetary support from Mozambique’s utility company Electricidade de Moçambique (EDM), FUNAE has electrified 580 schools and 561 health centres in 260 villages by March 2019. In May 2021, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) approved a grant to electrify 92 health facilities in Sofala Province. The Government of Mozambique with support from the World Bank continues the efforts to achieve electrification of schools, health centres and administrative buildings through the national programme Mozambique Energy for All (ProEnergia). The target is to provide grid connections to 400 public facilities by the end of 2024.
In 2020, GIZ (a German development organisation focusing on international cooperation for sustainable development) electrified 42 health stations in Gaza, Inhambane, Manica and Zambézia using solar systems. Additionally, they installed solar powered water disinfectants for providing clean water and disinfecting surgical equipment, befitting the patients and healthcare professionals, as shown in the following video.
Energy for Productive Use
Mozambique is an agricultural country where over 70% of the population depend on agricultural for livelihood. Thus, access to energy is key for powering and mechanising agricultural processes along the value chain i.e. production (irrigation), harvesting (using machineries), post-harvest storage (cooling units) and processing (drying, milling). It is also important for increasing the efficiency of agricultural processes, reducing post-harvest loss and for food processing and preservation.
The Mozambique Government is aware of this need for electrifying agricultural processes. Thus, the National Electrification Strategy states the importance of prioritising grid expansion to areas with high potential demand for industries, irrigation schemes and commercial farming, among others. In a similar manner, it suggests that productive areas should be the focus for the deployment of mini-grids to guarantee responsiveness to irrigation and agricultural demands. However, agricultural processes such as irrigation is still rudimentary and mostly relaying on rain-fed agriculture. FUNAE has been making an effort to mechanise irrigation process such that between 2006 and 2016, FUNAE installed 60 solar irrigation systems. The Government’s Strategic Plan on Agriculture Development 2010-2020 also aimed to support irrigation through solar power.
In 2018, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) distributed solar powered water pumps to smallholder farmers in the Zambezia, Sofala and Tete provinces. By 2020, the project installed 80 photovoltaic systems benefitting about 4,000 farmers.
For more information about solar irrigation in Mozambique, please see this chapter.
Reliable energy access is an important part of a prosperous business. Without energy access, variety in production is limited to only certain goods, production might not be stable, and the use of machinery is constrained. About 4.9 million micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are present in Mozambique, from which 85% are located in rural areas. FinScope Survey data from 2012 showed that only 7% of MSME businesses in Mozambique have access to electricity.
ProEnergia, the Mozambique Energy for All programme by the World Bank and the Government of Mozambique, aims to provide 400 enterprises with grid connections by the end of 2024.
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