For two years now, the inhabitants of Inhasoña have had access to electricity.
Photo: Klas Palm
Rural electrification in Mozambique
Mozambique is one of Africa's poorest countries, even though development has gained momentum since the peace agreement in 1992, which followed nearly 20 years of civil war. Access to electricity is a prerequisite for economic development in Mozambique, as it is throughout southern Africa. During the next twenty years, the energy supply in the region must be almost doubled in order to meet demands. The proportion of residents who have access to electricity in Mozambique is among the lowest in the region with around 14-15 per cent of households connected to the national grid. The difference between urban and rural areas is great – Maputo Province has the highest degree of electrification with 31 per cent whereas Cabo Delgado in the north has the lowest with only 2.8 per cent. In a vast country with low population density, the cost of expanding the electricity grid is high, and since 1979 Sida has supported the energy sector in Mozambique. Sida is also supporting the renovation of two hydro power stations in the central parts of the country.
EDM (Electricidade de Moçambique), the national electricity company, is implementing electrification projects with the support of Sida.
Sweden has contributed SEK 216 million between 2004 and 2011. The support provided to Niassa Province amounted to SEK 51.2 million between 2005 and 2010. The expansion and improvement of hydro power stations Mavuzi and Chicamba will cost SEK 420 million, 60 per cent of which Sida will contribute. Sida provides support to EDM in the form of expert help for acquiring a loan with favourable terms for the remaining 40 per cent, corresponding to around SEK 160 million.
- The proportion of Mozambiquans with access to electricity has more than doubled in the last six years.
- Women have benefited the most from the expansion of electric mills in the area.
- Women constitute between 30 and 40 per cent of those taking advantage of evening classes that started once electrification made this possible. Women also constitute the majority of entrepreneurs in small-scale businesses.
- In the electrified areas, businesses have emerged which, for example, sell fresh produce such as meat and fish. Access to fridges and freezers means that these types of produce stay fresh longer, which has in turn improved people's eating habits.
- Access to electricity has also led to improved quality within the healthcare sector. Patients can receive care 24/7, clinics can handle more difficult cases in the areas of maternity care, surgery and emergency care. Maternal mortality has dropped. Emergency care departments previously referred 30 cases per month to larger clinics. This number has now been reduced to 3.
- As soon as electricity was installed, evening classes started in schools. The schools are also showing improved study results. In one agricultural school, the number of pupils successfully completing their courses increased from 82 per cent in 2001 to 96 per cent in 2005.
- Electricity has also signified greater security for people in that they now have street lighting. More people have moved into the area, creating new job opportunities. Energy costs have decreased in comparison with the previous method of producing electricity with the use of diesel-fuelled generators. Multimedia centres have been established and communications have increased.