By Tendai Guvamombe
Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development on 23 November 2020 launched Findings of Feasibility Study on Women and Youths Participation in Green Energy. The launch took place in the Capital and was attended by Government Ministers, representatives from development partners, youth organisations and various stakeholders.
The Feasibility Study Report and the Policy White Paper will be instrumental in showcasing the capacity to provide empirical evidence which informs successful programme planning and implementation through a gender analysis of the renewable energy sector in the country.
Delivering a key note address Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Dr Stembiso G. G. Nyoni (M.P) said the study revealed available opportunities to empower women, youth and communities in the green energy sector.
“This study which resulted in the production of a Feasibility Report, a white Policy paper and 3 business plan proposals on setting up solar projects, identified high impact opportunities for women, youths and communities economic empowerment in the renewable/green energy sector.”
She went on to say that the move is in line with Government polices to spearhead developmental agenda on economic growth ahead of Vision 2030. Attaining a middle income economy status requires access to clean energy.
“The Government of Zimbabwe has crafted and adopted the National Development Strategy 1 for 2021 to 2025. The focus is now a shift from economic stabilization to economic growth which will be underpinned by growth in industry, agriculture and mining. The Government of Zimbabwe also realizes the viability of clean energy as an opportunity for sustainable power generation.”
“Availability of clean and safe energy which is renewable energy is a requisite for economic development. Zimbabwe is moving towards attaining an upper middle income economy status by 2030. To achieve that programmes that exploit the countrys natural resources for economic growth have become an imperative.”
The Feasibility study that was availed in a presentation during the launch revealed opportunities in the renewable energy sources mainly solar, hydro, wind and biomass which includes bagasse (sugarcane based), sawmill waste, biogas and forestry waste.
This also unearthed that renewable energy resources which lay in abundant have been under-utilized for years hence provides huge opportunities for women, youths and communities to be empowered.
Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Development, Permanent Secretary M Matshiya reiterated on the merits bewildered in using renewable energy. This will be instrumental in addressing environmental challenges of climate change through reduction of emitting sources of energy.
“Renewable Energy sources have a much smaller impact on the environment than fossils which produce pollutants such as greenhouse gases as a byproduct, contributing to climate change.”
“It is gratifying to note that green energy utilizes resources that are readily available all over the world including rural areas that do not otherwise have access to electricity. The advancement in renewable energy technologies has seen a marked reduction in the cost of solar panels, wind turbines and other sources of green energy hence the portability of these products which have become within reach financially. That has meant an alternative source of energy for most communities.”
Speaking at the launch Minister of Energy and Power Development Honorable Soda Zhemu said this feasibility study results comes at a time when the government is encouraging the nation to harness renewable energy. This has seen building of collaborations with Ministry of Women Affairs.
“My Ministry is encouraging citizens to embrace utilization of renewable energy technologies like biogas digesters, cook stoves, solar, water to mention but a few. The uptake of renewable energy is gradually increasing in Zimbabwe especially solar which has been on the rise since 2002. This technology has a huge impact in lessening the day to day challenges of youths and women in our communities.
Part of the Findings of the Feasibility Study encompassed three bankable business proposals for Gwanda and Tsholotsho. Also the Gairezi Green Energy Project a mini hydro Plant in Nyanga Manicaland, Hurungwe through Patsari stove and LPG gas supplying contract Green Energy Projects in Mashonaland West and Mudzi Jatropha Green Energy Project in Mashonaland East Province.
The development follows other launches by the Government and these include the Revised National Gender Policy of 2017 and the National Renewable Energy Policy early this year.