District Energy Officers : Mainstreaming Energy in Malawi's Local Governance Structures

Frame, Damien and Yona, Louis and Nyirenda, Estrida and Eales, Aran and Bayani, Edgar (2022) District Energy Officers : Mainstreaming Energy in Malawi's Local Governance Structures. University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.

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Access to energy is a major driver of socioeconomic development. While 90% of the world’s population has access to this developmental enabler, Malawi has only 13.4% access. Development in rural Malawian communities is governed by District Development Plans (DDPs) and these should contain locally relevant strategies to bridge the clean energy access gap. District Energy Officers (DEOs) were formally included in Malawi’s 2018 National Energy Policy as key enablers of improved energy access. Ideally, DEOs support the local planning processes that deliver DDPs and have clear roles and responsibilities in the implementation of local and national energy strategies. However, at present (November 2022), there are no national DEOs. The policy brief describes recent work to pilot and demonstrate the benefits of mainstreaming DEOs in the Dedza and Balaka districts. The learning on opportunities and challenges from this work should be considered carefully by national and district stakeholders as implementation plans are made for formal adoption of DEOs nationally.