By Staff Reporter
ZIMBABWE’S Rural Electrification Fund (REF) has, to date, electrified nearly 10 000 rural units, among them schools, clinics, business centres and traditional chiefs’ homesteads.
Speaking at the switching on ceremony of the Donsa Schools, Clinics, Business Centre and Gobo Electrification programme in Kwekwe Thursday, REF board chairperson Willard Chiwewe said the government owned entity, formed in 2002, has managed to electrify nearly 10 000 rural units.
“So far, we have electrified 9507 rural institutions that include schools, clinics, chiefs’ homesteads, business centres and villages countrywide,” Chiwewe said.
REF is mandated to facilitate provision of energy infrastructure in the rural communities of Zimbabwe for socio economic growth and development.
Said Chiwewe, “Our strategic target is to achieve our vision of universal access to modern energy services by all rural communities by 2030.”
According to statistics, REF has electrified 60% of rural primary schools, 72% of rural secondary schools, 87% rural health centres, over 80% of chiefs’ homesteads and an estimated 20% of rural homesteads.
“It is our hope that we will be able to speed up provision of energy to all rural households in Zimbabwe using both grid and solar technologies,” Chiwewe said.
Meanwhile, REF commissioned a US$289 829 electricity grid to the Donsa Community in Silobela, Midlands.
The project is set to benefit five rural public institutions and a business centre.
The project is also set to benefit 1 000 households.
“Donsa Schools, Clinic, Business Centre and Gobo School Electrification Project has a total line length of 18,7 km of 11kv line, 1,95 km of LT line and 4 substations at a total cost of US$289 829.00.
“The project will directly benefit (5) rural public institutions and a business centre.
“In addition, it is estimated that the project has the potential to benefit over 1000 households, three (3) additional public institutions and three (3) business centres, as the grid network is now within their reach,” he said.