Hivos Southern Africa recently participated in the validation of Zimbabwe’s Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) by 2030 Action Agenda (AA) and Investment Prospectus (IP). The meeting brought together policymakers, business actors, international and regional development agencies and civil society to interrogate and validate the proposed plans to increase the threshold of renewable in Zimbabwe.
SE4ALL is the brainchild of the outgoing United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, who in 2011 outlined the global energy development path by setting energy targets to be achieved by 2030.
Zimbabwe, through the Ministry of Energy and Power, was one the first African countries to engage with the UN-led SE4ALL processes in 2012 and has made significant progress in outlining plans to achieve the programme’s set goals by 2030. The goals include increasing energy access, use of renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Since 2014, Hivos Southern Africa has been convening civil society partners involved in renewable energy including, Practical Action, SNV and ZERO in order to lobby for people-centric policy provisions.
In Zimbabwe, only about 37 per cent of all households and 13 per cent of rural households have access to the electricity grid. In rural areas, access is mainly used by growth points, business centres, schools and clinics.
During the meeting, the African Development Bank (AfDB), which hosts the SE4ALL hub in Africa, pledged to provide financial support to green projects in Zimbabwe. The bank also highlighted that they are giving high priority to energy-related projects across the continent. Community members who are befitting from renewable projects also gave testimonies of how access to energy has changed their lives and livelihoods.
The SE4ALL Africa Hub has been leading in the development of Action Agendas and Investment Prospectuses. Zimbabwe has been working on its own AA and IP since June 2015. The plans outline how Zimbabwe will achieve SE4ALL goals of universal access to modern energy services, increase the rate of energy efficiency and increase the share of renewable energy in its energy mix by 2030.
“Sixty-five per cent of our population rely on wood fuel for cooking and heating. Surely this unsustainable exploitation of the forests and woodlands cannot continue especially as the effect of climate change starts rearing its ugly face through unpredictable agricultural seasons,” said Taendai Muzenda, Deputy Minister of Energy and Power Development in a keynote address.
Muzenda said that the paradox is that many people in Zimbabwe live in extreme energy poverty, yet the country is endowed with energy resources that can easily meet or surpass the energy requirements for a 100 per cent access rate.
She added that the Ministry of Power and Energy Development will work with other ministries and government departments as well as civil society, media and the general public. Muzenda said that innovative ways need to be found to finance the action agenda.
Hivos Southern Africa’s Sustainable Energy manager, Reginald Mapfumo, emphasized the need for ongoing collaboration between the government, CSOs and other players.
“It is exciting to see the government’s willingness to work with CSOs and communities on energy planning. This collaboration strategy is key to enhancing the SE4All motto that together we move further – faster,” said Mapfumo.
“It is my dream that in 2030 the whole of Zimbabwe which appears as a dark spot from the satellite images will be transformed into dazzling light,” said Muzenda.