25 October 2013, Harare – A total of $135 million has been raised for the energy and water sectors under the auspices of the Zimbabwe Multi-Donor Trust Fund set up to help address the country’s infrastructure deficit.
Zim Fund general manager Mr Emmanuel Nzabanita said part of the funding was meant for the energy sector since Zesa Holdings was struggling to address the challenge of power shortage.
“We raised the fund with the aim to help Zesa meet the demands of the local consumers as well as rectify multiple power shortages that have been affecting the country. So far we have targeted Harare, Mutare, Chitungwiza, Chegutu, Gweru, Masvingo and Kwekwe,” Mr Nzabanita said.
Mr Nzabanita made the remarks during a breakfast meeting organised by the Zimbabwe Energy Council to bring together donors with a view to establish a fund to support renewable energy. He added that the power projects targeted by the Zim Fund, administered by the African Development Bank, were divided into two phases with the first phase having been completed.
“The fund is a grant from the civil society that should not be paid back. We have already acquired 530 transformers with a batch of 100 expected to be shipped in the country next week. The phase two project will commence anytime this year as we are on a drive to engage the energy provider (Zesa Holdings) in making sure that power shortages are a thing of the past.
Mr Nzabanita said the fund has been split with US$40 million injected for the phase one energy project and another US$43 million earmarked for phase two of the project.
“Once complete, these refurbishments and reinforcements will improve system reliability and allow the restoration of supply services to about 22 000 customers in various neighbourhoods across Zimbabwe that have no access to electricity services,” he said.
The remaining US$52 million has been set aside for water infrastructure-related programmes.
The projects are expected to increase the reliability, quality and availability of power and water and reduce the incidence of cholera and other water-related diseases around the country.
The first project to be implemented under the fund was the US$29,65 million urgent water supply and sanitation rehabilitation project, for Mutare, Chegutu, Chitungwiza, Harare, Kwekwe and Masvingo.
The project has been designed to improve the health, social well-being and power supply through equitable service provision. Zim Fund is an infrastructure development programme supporting Zimbabwe’s economic recovery by improving the quality of life of ordinary citizens.
Zimbabwe Energy Council executive director Mr Panganayi Sithole said while donors have supported other initiatives such as water infrastructure projects, little had been done about power.
Against this background, the Energy Council brought together most donors who have funded most pro-poor development programmes to consider setting up an energy fund to support renewable energy infrastructure projects across the entire value chain in the energy industry.
*Tinashe Makichi, Herald