Zimbabwe needs to act decisively and put in place investment-friendly policies as well as fix its recurring cash challenges to ensure the country benefits from climate-friendly opportunities for the betterment of future generations, British Ambassador to Zimbabwe Melanie Robinson has said.
The country this week joined more than 100 other countries that pledged to put a ban on deforestation by 2030. The pledge is backed by almost USD$20 billion in public and private funding.
By agreeing to the pledge, Zimbabwe became a potential beneficiary to the public fund but Ambassador Robinson said there needs to be a show of intent and action before the country can access the funds and unlock business investments.
“We’re pleased that Zimbabwe has committed to act. It signed up to the Glasgow forestry declaration earlier this week joining more than a hundred other countries and pledging to stop deforestation by 2030.
“This is important because we know trees are one of the biggest tools in halting global warming but we also know how hard it will be to protect them. There are so many reasons why people cut trees down here.
“So now we need to see these words turned into action. It will require concerted effort and investment to restore Zimbabwe’s woodlands, plant trees, provide sources of renewable power that are accessible to as many people as possible,” she said.
Ambassador Robinson emphasized that the UK stands ready to work with Zimbabwe but reiterated that “It will take serious work to turn that hope into reality.”
During the ongoing COP26 summit, Zimbabwe also signed up for the Green Grids Initiative also known as the One Sun One World One Grid (OSOWOG) project, led by Britain and India.
The proposal is aimed at addressing the issue of reliability of supply from solar power plants, which do not generate electricity after the sun has set.
Under the initiative, a transnational grid would allow countries to source solar power from regions where it is daytime to meet their green energy needs even when their own installed solar capacity is not generating energy.
Ambassador Robinson noted that for Zimbabwe to benefit from this initiative, it will have to move away from cheap talk to more action and catch up with the rest of the world as there are green energy investment opportunities.
She noted that enough investment in solar power generation in Zimbabwe could seek the country to actually export power to other countries.
“Imagine powering up your e-vehicle in South Africa or even further afield with solar power generated in Zimbabwe.
“But again, this will take important action to make it a reality, it will take a step change. Zimbabwe will need to improve the investment environment for mini-grids and off-grid systems and it will need to implement the new policy framework it has developed as well as solve foreign currency issues to unlock the millions of renewable energy investment dollars which are ready to come in,” she added.
Meanwhile, internationally acclaimed band, Coldplay and a Zimbabwe tree charity My Trees, have partnered to plant hundreds of thousands of trees to mitigate climate change effects.