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30/11/15 10:31

Scottish energy expert appointed to Malawi

Scottish Ministers fulfil a commitment made to the United Nations.

Scotland is to share its world-leading expertise in renewable energy and is reaffirming its support for Malawi and its people by giving thousands access to clean energy, Humza Yousaf has said today.

The Minister for Europe and International Development has announced the appointment of Joss Blamire as an energy policy expert to Malawi. The move fulfils a commitment made by Scottish Ministers when Scotland was invited by the UN Secretary-General to support the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative.

Mr Blamire, who is well-known for his work across Scotland’s renewable energy sector, will be seconded to the Government of Malawi in 2016 to help develop their first national renewable energy strategy. He will also support a Sustainable Energy Management Programme in Malawi, which guides the activity of the Government of Malawi’s Department of Energy, and the development and implementation of a national SE4All Action Plan.

Speaking after today’s announcement, Mr Yousaf said:

“Nearly one in five people around the world do not have access to modern energy services. Twice that number, three billion people, rely on wood, coal, charcoal or animal waste for cooking and heating. In today’s economy, that’s a major barrier to eradicating poverty. The Scottish Government has already helped 80, 000 Malawians access renewable energy, but we want to go further.

“Only 9% of the Malawian population currently has access to electricity, that figure falls to 1% in rural areas. The Scottish Government made a promise to Ban Ki-Moon to deliver on a commitment to second an energy policy expert to the Government of Malawi. I’m delighted that we have now fulfilled that promise.

“Joss Blamire is a well-known energy expert here in Scotland and I welcome his appointment. Joss will bring a wealth of experience to the Government of Malawi and I’m sure he’ll receive a warm welcome in 2016.”

Joss Blamire said:

“I’m delighted to be able to work with the Scottish and Malawi governments to help to develop a new national renewable energy strategy for the people of Malawi.

“There is no doubt that the challenges Malawi faces in providing access to electricity are great, but with the chance to lift more people out of poverty, improve healthcare and support education, the potential benefits are even greater.

“I hope to build on the successful support the Scottish Government has provided so far and know that my experience in Scotland’s world-leading renewables sector over the past eight years gives me the best possible opportunity to do that.”

Notes to editors

In 2012, Ban Ki-moon asked the First Minister to support the SE4All initiative, in recognition of Scotland’s leadership on renewable energy and climate change.

UN Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) has three interlinked objectives to be achieved by 2030:

  • providing universal access to modern energy services;
  • doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency;
  • and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

A Cooperation Agreement was signed between Scotland and Malawi in 2005. It provides an opportunity for both countries to learn from each other. More than 300,000 Scots and two million Malawian’s benefit from the relationship each year, in areas including education, health, agriculture and renewable energy.