Maputo — Mozambique's Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Leticia Klemens, on Tuesday admitted that universal access to electricity remains a challenge, despite all the efforts undertaken by the government over the past 20 years.
She was speaking at the launch in Maputo, by the government's Energy Fund (FUNAE), of its portfolio of renewable energy projects, budgeted at over 500 million US dollars. This portfolio will be an instrument of planning and guidance for achieving the target of universal access by 2030.
"Electricity is an important catalyst for the country's economic and social development", she said. "It contributes to the growth and flourishing of industry, and to increased production, as well as to improving living conditions".
With this perspective, she added, the government, through FUNAE, had stepped up access to electricity in rural areas, particularly through renewable energies such as solar power. As a result, 230 small towns, 800 schools, 700 health centres and 75 filling stations across the country had been electrified.
Klemens stressed that the government is "profoundly committed" to attaining universal access by 2030, even though "this demands better performance from us".
The government's National Electrification Strategy, she added, requires "a shared vision and coordination between the various public and private institutions that are directly concerned with the provision of energy services".
The FUNAE portfolio of renewable energy projects, the Minister said, is based on the Mozambican Atlas of Renewable Energies, indicating the places with the best potential for setting up hydro and solar power projects. She invited private business and Mozambique's foreign cooperation partners to join with the government "in joint efforts to achieve the goals proposed".
"With this portfolio we want to open more space for private sector investment and financing, so that renewable energy projects cease to be limited to public investment", she added.
Klemens hopes to put at the service of Mozambicans "a product designed and developed in accordance with Mozambique's own standards and specificities".
She expected the portfolio to become a national reference point "and that, in the near future, renewable energies can make a considerable contribution to achieving universal access to electricity".