Maputo — The Mozambican government intends to make 38,000 new connections to the national electricity grid in Maputo province by the end of this year, according to the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Max Tonela.
Tonela was speaking on Thursday, in Matlemele neighbourhood, in the provincial capital, Matola. He accompanied the visiting Crown Prince of Norway, Haaken Magno, who witnessed the first domestic connection to the grid under the "Energy for All" programme.
Addressing Matlemele residents at the home of these first beneficiaries, Belmiro and Titos Sitoe, Tonela said the pilot phase also covers Manica and Niassa province. In the three provinces taken together, there should be 42,000 new connections to the grid by the end of 2020.
There are much more ambitious targets for the following years - thus in 2021, there should be 200,000 new connections in the entire country. Universal access to electricity should be achieved by the year 2030.
Tonela said that it was thanks to Norwegian aid that small scale hydro-electric power stations had been built at Corumana in Maputo province, and in the two main cities in Niassa, Lichinga and Cuamba, as well as several transmission lines.
Norwegian cooperation is also involved in financing the power line that will run from Temane, in Inhambane province, to Maputo, and in the interconnection of the Mozambican and Malawian electricity systems.
Prince Haakon said he was impressed by the results of the partnership between Mozambique and Norway, which is now over 40 years old.
He added that electricity plays a key role in attaining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, since once its home is electrified, a family can keep foodstuffs cold, the children can study at night, and the family can even develop small scale businesses.
The Secretary of State for Maputo province, Vitoria Diogo warned that those benefiting from connections to the grid must pay their electricity bills. She also urged them to protect electrical infrastructures to ensure that equipment is not stolen or vandalised.