Maputo — Over the last five years the Mozambican government has invested 530 million US dollars in rural electrification, Energy Minister Salvador Namburete told reporters on Tuesday.
Speaking after a meeting of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet) which discussed a report on electrification, Namburete said that the number of district capitals with electricity had risen from 51 in 2004 to 121 today (out of a total of 128).
In the last five years, he added, 7,500 kilometres of electricity transmission lines were built - 1,471 kilometres in high voltage, 5,375 in medium voltage and about 1,000 in low voltage.
In 2004, only seven per cent of the Mozambican population had access to energy. That figure has now risen to 40 per cent.
“In 2004, we had 1.3 million people with electricity in their homes, and today 10.2 million people have electricity”, said Namburete. “6.5 million obtain electricity from the national grid, while 3.7 million receive power from solar panels”.
Mozambique now has the third highest electrification rate in the SADC (Southern African Development Community) region, surpassed only by South Africa and Mauritius.
Namburete stressed that Mozambique needs to invest a further 2.4 billion dollars in electrification to ensure that power can reach the other 60 per cent of the population.
He said that so far solar panels have been used to electrify 700 schools, 600 health centres and 800 other public buildings in rural areas, at a total cost of 51 million dollars. A further 400,000 dollars was spent on small scale water systems powered by solar panels, while three small solar power stations were built in the northern province of Niassa costing 35 million dollars.