75pc of rural public institutions electrified
Mandaza Chikarango Herald Reporter
Three-quarters of rural public schools, clinics, extension offices and other public institutions are now electrified through the Rural Electrification Fund.
Before independence rural areas suffered neglect in energy provision as the successive colonial governments disregarded the fact that most people lived in rural areas.
A major change came with the establishment in the Zesa reorganisation after independence of the rural electrification fund, fed by a small levy on every power bill, plus other budget intervention to get power into rural areas rather than expect people to pay huge sums to bring the cables in.
While public institutions have a high priority, the fact that the distribution grid is extended into rural areas makes it economically feasible for others, especially businesses, to pay roughly the same as urban users for a connection.
Statistics by Rural Electrification Agency as at 31 July 2022 indicate provinces have an aggregate completion percentage for these public institutions as follows: Matabeleland South 87 percent, Manicaland 86 percent, Mashonaland Central 80 percent, Matabeleland North 78 percent, Midlands 73 percent, Masvingo 69 percent Mashonaland East 69 percent and Mashonaland West 66 percent,
Rural Electrification Agency public relations and marketing executive officer Mr Johhanes Nyamayedenga said they made great strides in modernising rural areas, with 10 000 public institutions country wide now electrified.
“The electricity we are installing transformed the lifestyle of people living in rural areas as school children are able to use their ICT gadgets at the same time enhancing food security of the country as farmers are able to use electricity in irrigating their crops, “he said.
Mr Nyamayedenga said under NDS 1 all rural public institutions in Zimbabwe should have access to electricity and by 2030 all rural areas should have electricity.
To meet the target the agency is not concentrating on grid electricity alone, but also looking at local supplies such as solar and biogas energy in order to meet their target.
Biogas energy is the process of producing energy by fermenting waste, it is gaining in popularity around the world as a way of reducing reliance on fossil fuels, cutting deforestation and providing cheap, reliable and easy-to-produce local energy.
While meaningful progress in the provision of biogas energy has been noted, remarkable progress has also been made in the provision of solar energy.
The Rural Electrification Fund has distributed 437 mobile solar units across the country at satellite schools, ZRP Police posts, National Parks and for the District Development Fund.
The rural electrification programme was initiated in 2002 following the enactment of the Rural Electrification Fund Act (2002).
The major thrust of the Rural Electrification Fund is to ensure that there is equitable distribution of resources in the electrification of the rural areas in Zimbabwe.