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French and Zambian Stakeholders discuss renewable energy opportunities for companies

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ERZ

French and Zambian Stakeholders discuss renewable energy opportunities for companies

The two days Renewable Energy conference which is aimed at enhancing stakeholders’ participation in the promotion of alternative sources of energy has commenced in Lusaka.

Minister of Energy Mathew Nkhuwa has implored both local and international investors to seize the favourable investment environment in the sector that is grappling with 810 megawatts deficit.

Mr Nkhuwa disclosed that Zambia currently has 2300 MW electricity demand but only 1490MW are being generated.

Energy Minister attributed the struggle in meeting the country’s demand to the outbreak of COVID-19 that imposed shocks on various sectors of the economy and climatic changes.

“The theme for this conference which runs from October 27 to 28, 2020 ‘opportunities for French and Zambian companies collaboration’ is a chance for the private sector to make a massive investment in the renewable energy sub-sector and as government, we have provided an enabling environment,” the Energy Minister said.

He underscored that the promotion of renewable energy and other sources of energy is an opportunity for the private sector to access the local and international markets that are gaping for power.

Despite the country being among the lowest to access to electricity among its citizens in the sub-Sahara region, Mr Nkhuwa was enthusiastic the situation will change for the better in the first quarter of 2021 due to numerous measures being implemented.

Meanwhile, several Ambassadors at the conference took turns in stressing the importance of renewable energy to the country’s economic growth.

European Union Head of Mission to Zambia Jacek Jankowski said the EU injected at least 25 million euros in the energy sector last week to finance for energy efficiency. Mr Jankowski hailed government for amending the energy act in 2019 which gives a clear direction in the sector such as cost-reflective tariffs and access to electricity by all. He cited solar energy as among the alternative sources of power that can easily improve the electricity supply in Zambia that has remained low due to lack of cost-reflective tariffs.

“Zambia has embarked on the positive path of renewable energy that is clean and affordable. This stance is timely because the major source of hydro-power the Kariba dam is being affected by the effects of climate change among other shocks. Once fully harnessed the renewable energy sector will complement the hydropower sub-sector that contributes 86% of the country’s electricity supply,” he said.

Speaking at the same occasion, French Ambassador to Zambia Sylvain Berger explained that France remains unwavering to cushion the load shedding in Zambia that has been necessitated by the effects of climate change.

Mr Berger pointed out that his country will continue supporting the Zambian government in promoting alternative sources of energy as evidenced by the 50MW of solar power being spearheaded in the Lusaka South mult- economic facility zone.

Meanwhile, Zambia’s Ambassador to France Christine Kaseba Sata pointed out that entire Southern Africa is battling with energy deficit owing to changes in the climatic conditions.

Dr Kaseba Sata said the promotion of renewable energy production in Zambia is a clear fiscal platform that will enable the country export power to other countries.“COVID-19 has derailed a lot of developmental opportunities but this conference is commendable as it will spur economic growth in the energy sector. Entire Southern Africa is grappling with energy deficit and once we succeed in renewable energy we will be able to export power to other countries,” she stressed.

She emphasized that the Zambian mission in France is delighted with the positive feedback from French companies to invest in Zambia which has seen at least 40 companies having investments in the country.

The Renewable Energy Conference has been organized by the French –Zambian Chamber of Commerce and will run from today October 27 to 28 October 2020 with the major objectives being accessing the potential of the renewable energy sector in Zambia and its prospects as well as allowing the private and public stakeholders to debate thematic subjects.

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