BY EVERSON MUSHAVA
THE government said it has developed a rural electrification master plan, mainly anchored on harnessing solar power that will see most rural communities electrified by 2030.
This was said by Energy deputy minister Magna Mudyiwa at the handover ceremony of a solar mini-grid benefiting over 10 000 people in Mashaba village, Gwanda South, yesterday.
In a speech read on her behalf by Sosten Zivuku, a director in her ministry, Mudyiwa said the Mashaba project, the first in the country implemented by
Practical Action, a developmental charity and is powering about 2 800 households, three irrigation projects, a clinic, three business centres and schools
demonstrated how provision of power can transform communities.
“Through the Rural Electrification (REA), government has come up with a rural electrification master plan because it has realised electricity is not a luxury,
but a necessity,” she said.
“This success in establishing this first ever mini-grid system in the country shows that we can ensure universal access to energy by 2030. Government has
licensed many companies to produce solar power to ensure that all people are connected.”
Mudyiwa added: “This project provides solutions today, not in 20 years that could be needed using the rural electrification fund. In recent times the country
has experienced load-shedding due to low water levels, but there are no power cuts here, because it is solar power.”
Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs minister Abednico Ncube said more solar projects can turn his drought-prone province into a green belt and help preserve
trees that had been used as energy sources.
Practical Action regional director Kudzai Marovanidze, representing the implementation partners, said the project provided reasons to inform.
“This site will be a showcase for how renewable energy can facilitate development in remote rural communities by enabling increased agricultural productivity,
improved education and health delivery and local off-grid business enterprises,” he said.