Government is forging ahead with its thrust to modernise rural areas with the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) pledging to bring access to electricity to 60 percent of the rural populace by 2030 in line with President Mnangagwa’s vision to make Zimbabwe an upper middle income economy by 2030.
REA board chair Mr Willard Chiwewe said access to energy for the rural populace was key in engendering socio-economic development within rural communities.
He said REA was aware of its obligations under the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) which seeks to set the country on an economic growth trajectory as the nation glides towards attainment of an upper middle income economy status.
In his address during a stakeholders meeting at Jerera Growth Point recently, Mr Chiwewe said REA’s target was to make sure more than half of the rural population had access to modern sources of energy by 2030.
He said the Rural Electrification Fund has remained consistent with the mandate to ensure that grid electricity is extended to rural areas across the country.
“Apart from the challenges faced by the country, our fund has continued to make meaningful yield in the electrification of the rural communities of the country.
“As of now, REA has electrified over 9 300 rural institutions that include schools, clinics, chiefs’ homesteads, business centres and villages countrywide. We remain committed to the TSP as it plays a major role in attaining our Vision 2030 as envisaged by President Mnangagwa,” said Mr Chiwewe.
Since January, the Rural Electrification Fund financed completion of grid projects covering 37 institutions and two bio-gas projects countrywide. Mr Chiwewe added that an additional 332 grid projects and eight institutional bio-gas digesters were in progress, countrywide, during the same period.
He urged school authorities, pupils and the community at large to safeguard electrical gadgets that were installed at these institutions.
Speaking at the same gathering, Chief Nhema (Senator Ranganai Bwawanda) commended REA for continuing to make notable progress in the electrification of rural areas in Zimbabwe despite obtaining economic hardships.
“I am informed that to date the fund (Rural Electrification) has electrified 9 313 rural institutions countrywide. This is encouraging to note that the fund continues to make strides despite the economic challenges the country is going through,” said Senator Nhema
He said provision of electricity in rural communities will help empower them and contribute to the eradication of poverty in Zimbabwe.
Senator Nhema, however, bemoaned rampant cases of theft and vandalism of electricity grid infrastructure.
“I would like to urge the community to ensure that the grid infrastructure is not vandalised. Rural communities are beneficiaries of this infrastructure and hence they are expected to jealously guard it from acts of sabotage,” he said.