By Pride Sakupwanya
Energy and Power Development Minister, Soda Zhemu said the country and the region at large is facing electricity supply challenges due to limited investment in the energy sector.
Speaking at the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals fund in collaboration with the United Nation in Harare, the Minister said to address power challenges in Zimbabwe met a stumbling block due to power shortages also affecting the region.
“In order to address the supply-demand gap, we usually import power from our neighbours in the SADC region. However in recent months, we have noted that our neighbours are also experiencing power supply shortages thereby limiting our capacity to import from traditional suppliers particularly South Africa,” Zhemu said
He also said the Zimbabwe trends in electricity are worrisome with a 62% penetration rate leaving the other 38% behind.
“According to recent statistics, Zimbabwe has an electricity penetration rate of 62% (34% grid connected and 28% off-grid (ZimStats National Census, 2022). It is worrisome that about 38% of the population do not have access to clean electricity services. This figure shows that there is a lot of work to be done in order to achieve the national vision of attaining an upper middle income society by 2030”
The Sustainable Development Fund, the Minister said will help in setting up of renewable energy programmes that focus on women and the youth.
“This project will be funded to the tune of USD $45 million and Fund proposes three main interventions: Establishment of a Renewable Energy Fund (REF), Using the REF fund to deploy projects that address the majority of our SDGs with special focus on women and youth empowerment and Capacity Building and advocacy on renewable energy opportunities and uptake of the same”
“The programme will also contribute towards the attainment of a number of key national priorities of the Government of Zimbabwe as outlined in the National Development Strategy (NDSI)” said the Minister
He added “Government is making all the necessary effort to achieve universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030. We remain committed to work with progressive partners and investors who wish to invest in the energy sector.
“The UN family is one of such development partners who have stood with the Government in addressing the challenges in the energy sector as reflected by the ongoing UNDP Energy Offer project valued at USD1.5 million which was launched in April this year in Bulawayo”