Boost for Zim energy sector . . . as Italian investor plans 100 megawatt solar power station President Mnangagwa meets Dr Alfonso Ippolito of Convivium Africa in Rome, Italy yesterday. — Pictures: Presidential Photographer Tawanda Mudimu.

Zvamaida Murwira in Rome, Italy

Italian investors want to build a 100 megawatt solar power station near Gweru and yesterday met President Mnangagwa in Rome to discuss the investment and how the necessary land can be allocated, the final step before work starts.

President Mnangagwa also met Food and Agriculture Organisation director general Qu Dongyu who pledged to cooperate with Zimbabwe for sustainable use of water and land to ensure food security.

The President meets Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Director-General, QU Dongyu in Rome yesterday.

President Mnangagwa is in Rome where he attended the Italy-Africa summit on Monday that drew leaders from Africa and Europe to deepen cooperation between Italy and the African continent, mainly in energy and infrastructure.

Yesterday, he met Convivium Africa president Dr Alfonso Ippolito who undertook to set up a staggered 100MW solar power station. Zimbabwe has been inviting foreign investors to invest in the energy sector.

Briefing journalists soon after meeting President Mnangagwa at his hotel, Dr Ippolito said he had a fruitful engagement that tackled crucial issues on solar energy provision.

“We discussed about a solar project that we want to set up in Zimbabwe in the Gweru area. The President was very helpful. He promised to help us with land because the only issue that is left is the land and we are very happy with the meeting,” said Dr Ippolito.

“The solar project is about 100 megawatts but will be implemented in two phases of 50MW. As soon as we get the land we are ready to start.”

Dr Ippolito said his firm had the capital available and was keen to invest in Zimbabwe given its economic potential.

“We are very happy and keen to invest in Zimbabwe because it is an interesting and promising investment destination,” said Dr Ippolito. 

Later, President Mnangagwa held a bilateral meeting with FAO director general, Mr Qu at the organisation’s head office. 

The FAO is head-quartered in Rome.

Mr Qu told journalists that his organisation would cooperate with Zimbabwe in ensuring sustainable use of its natural resources such as wildlife, land and water to meet the objective of maximum food security in the country.

“We are focusing on how to implement programmes in your country, particularly how we can help farmers, the food value chain, for national food security. We are also looking at sustainable use of natural resources like water, land and technology,” he said.

On Monday, President Mnangagwa met Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on the sidelines of the Italy Africa summit

The meeting between President Mnangagwa and Prime Minister Meloni focused on how to deepen cooperation in several areas.

The Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa has been on an economic drive which has seen remarkable growth over the past years.

The Government has taken several initiatives to boost energy requirements that include rehabilitation of Hwange Unit 7 and 8 and licencing of independent power producers.

On agriculture, there has been several initiatives including the Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme that has transformed the agricultural sector both at household and commercial level

This has seen the country attain food self-sufficiency.

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