Victor Maphosa recently in Nyamanyora, MUDZI
The Rural Electrification Agency last week completed the electrification of a business centre, clinic, and a primary and secondary school in Nyamanyora, in Mudzi, Mashonaland East Province.
A power line of 16 kilometres had to be put in place, along with local substations and other equipment, at a total cost of US$286 230.
Government in 2002 established the Rural Electrification Fund through an Act of Parliament with the specific mandate to facilitate rapid and equitable electrification of rural areas in Zimbabwe.
It is funded by a small levy on Zesa power sales to existing consumers. The fund pays for capital works, while the new consumers pay the normal Zesa charges for the power they use.
Speaking during the commissioning of the project in Mudzi on Thursday last week, Energy and Power Development Minister Fortune Chasi, who was represented by his Deputy Magna Mudyiwa commended the agency for the progress registered to date in electrifying rural areas.
Minister Chasi said it is important for affordable electricity to reach all the corners of the country to ensure economic and social development.
“It is encouraging to note that despite the economic challenges faced by the country, the Fund has continued to register meaningful progress in the electrification of rural areas of Zimbabwe,” he said.
“Provision of electricity in the rural areas will no doubt lead to the empowerment of our rural communities, alleviate poverty, build capacity and create employment which will lead to sustainable development and social equity in Zimbabwe.
“Many other benefits will accrue, among them the reversal of rural-urban migration and economic activities in downstream industries,” Minister Chasi said.
He said the programme has the potential to improve the quality of life in rural areas of Zimbabwe.
“Many schools are electrified and connected to internet services. Teachers who used to shun working in rural areas before their schools were electrified are now happier to work in rural areas,” he said.
“Similarly in rural health centres, electricity has brought positive changes. Child mortality rate has been reduced and expectant mothers who were asked to bring own lighting such as candles and paraffin lamps to the clinics in the past are now giving birth in well-lit and conducive environments. Similarly the cold chain which is essential in the handling of some drugs and vaccines is made available in rural health centres.”
Mashonaland East Provincial Minister Aplonia Munzverengi commended the work.
“We the people of Mashonaland East Province appreciate the effort Government is making in uplifting the standards of living in our rural communities through provision of energy infrastructure,” she said.
“The importance of electricity as an enabler for economic and social development cannot be over emphasised. Irrigation, agro processing and cottage industry projects can also be successfully implemented for the benefit of rural communities and the country at large.”
She appealed to the Nyamanyora community to use the grid infrastructure provided for the benefit of rural schools, health centres business centres and surrounding communities.