Zimbabwean businessman and philanthropist, Strive Masiyiwa has, through his Re-Imagine Rural initiative, completed a 100KW solar power project in the Ndolwane area in Bulilima district near Plumtree town in Matabeleland South.
BY SILAS NKALA
Masiyiwa said the Ndolwane site was the first under the Re-Imagine Rural Ugesi Mini-grids initiative.
“We built a 100KW solar power plant at a small business center. It now provides power to 70 small businesses, residents and other activities. Some are using the power to irrigate market gardens to sell vegetables,” he said.
Masiyiwa said someone is planning to do a major poultry business using that power and was expanding the power line grid to eventually reach a 10km radius.
In addition: Masiyiwa said: “We have just bought our own water drilling rig and as soon as it arrives we plan to drill deep well boreholes in places like Ndolwane, where it is dry. It will help communities with market gardening and water for their cattle.”
He said his initiative has 10 other sites being built around the country and that is his vision of how rural Africa can be reimagined.
“My vision has drawn a lot of interest outside Zimbabwe. Several global philanthropists have asked for presentations on how this model can be used in other African countries. This really excites me,” Masiyiwa said.
“Even with the pandemic, we are still reimagining. It might slow us down, but it will never stop us. Don’t stop reimagining.”
Bulilima West legislator Dingumuzi Phuti confirmed the completion of the project in his constituency, describing it as an exciting project for the community.
“It’s an exciting project and a first of its kind and an Econet pilot project in their vision of doing many such across the country.
“It facilitates the completion of Ndolwane being modernised to a proper service centre which should have modern houses and modern planning like any other town,” he said.