The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Agency Electrifies 5 228 Rural Institutions

Harare — The Rural Electrification Agency has electrified 5 228 rural institutions, 192 of them during the first nine months of this year, the Minister of Energy and Power Development, Cde Mike Nyambuya, has said.

In a speech read on his behalf by Secretary for Energy and Power Development, Mr Justin Mupamhanga, during the official launch of the Solar Mini-Grid system in Mount Darwin South and Rushinga District, Cde Nyambuya hailed REA for making tremendous progress under the current challenging economic environment.

"Despite the economic and other challenges being faced by our country over the past few years, the Rural Electrification Agency has made tremendous progress in the implementation of the Expanded Rural Electrification Programme with Electricity End Use Infrastructure Development," Cde Nyambuya said.

"It is encouraging to note that to date REA has electrified 5 228 rural institutions, 192 of which were electrified during the first nine months of 2007. REA intends to electrify another 32 institutions by end of 2007 using this grid." Under the EEUID programme, the agency assists rural communities to embark on income generating projects such as agro-processing, irrigation development and cottage industry. Cde Nyambuya said REA has to date procured milling and micro irrigation equipment to benefit 40 schools throughout the country.

He encouraged the rural institutions to embark on income generating projects with the assistance of REA. Cde Nyambuya said Government recognised the importance of electricity as a vehicle for economic and social development. "Many people are not aware of the vast potential presented by solar to solve the energy problems encountered by both urban and rural communities. Our country is endowed with vast amounts of solar energy and has one of the best regimes in the world with over 3 000 hours of sunshine every year," Cde Nyambuya added.

He urged the use of solar energy to provide electricity to remote areas of the country.

"In this regard, Government through my ministry, has mandated REA to implement a solar programme under which 500 remote rural schools and health centres in all provinces of Zimbabwe will be electrified in the next two to three years using solar. For 2007, Government has allocated $100 billion for solar programme," he said.

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