More than 60 percent of households in Zimbabwe do not have access to electricity, says Partson Mbiriri, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Energy, Power and Development.
Opening the National Dialogue for a consumer driven renewable energy policy hosted by Ruzivo Trust at Holiday Inn, Harare recently, Mbiriri added that most people use candles, kerosene, maize cobs and wood for heating and lighting.
“60 percent of households in Zimbabwe do not have access to electricity and they depend on wood, kerosene and diesel-powered system for heating, lighting and essential food processing tasks such as milling grain,” he said.
Mbiriri, however, said the country is in the process of crafting a renewable energy policy to close the gap.
He added that the policy will provide the sector with guidelines as well as an avenue for creating a more conducive environment for attracting investment.
He also said the policy will facilitate the adoption of a green economy in the sector as well as enhance socio-economic development in the country.
“We are crafting a renewable energy policy after realising that the availability of sustainable, clean and renewable sources of energy is an essential driver for economic expansions,” he said.
Mbiriri also said the national dialogue for a consumer driven renewable energy policy is significant as it helps Zimbabweans to exchange ideas on issues that hinder access to energy.
Once we have this dialogue, he added, it is of paramount importance that we should not have parallel processes.
“In fact, we should converge to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all as provided by the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7,” said Mbiriri.
He also said the country needs reliable data to come up with a good policy that will not only address energy needs in the country, but also enhance local, regional and international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy and technologies, including renewable energy, energy efficiency as well as advanced and cleaner fossil fuel technologies.
Further, Mbiriri urged all stakeholders in the energy fraternity to focus on profiling appropriate solutions to all challenges inhibiting the adoption of renewable energy in the country.
“It is high time stakeholders in the energy fraternity support government in addressing the energy crisis in the country,” he said. “The government is the biggest stakeholder, but it should not do everything. Other players should support and reinforce its efforts.”