US$30 million Renewable Energy Fund (REF) for Zimbabwe launched

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By Staff Reporter

GOVERNMENT and the United Nations’ (UN) agencies on Monday launched the Renewable Energy Fund (REF) initiative meant for a rapid and extensive adoption of renewable energy technologies as the country’s power crisis deepens.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)-Fund Initiative is expected to ease the nation’s energy challenges, creating the enabling environment for investment in renewable energy which is key for the success of the UN’s green agenda.

“The current energy challenges, coupled with climate challenges call for one unified solution, a rapid and extensive adoption of renewable energy technologies in the country.

“I am pleased to announce that after two years of hard work, we have a solid programme that we are here to launch today. The process that led to this launch has been a truly collaborative effort with the government, the UN Development System and its UN Entities and other national stakeholders.

“With this, I am honoured to announce that the Zimbabwe UN SDG-F project ‘Catalysing Investment into Renewable Energy for the Acceleration of the Attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals in Zimbabwe’ is ready for implementation,” UN Zimbabwe Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Edward Kallon said.

The project, the first of its kind in Zimbabwe, is expected to unlock over US$30 million from the Zimbabwean financial markets, and regional and international development focus entities, the bulk of which would otherwise not typically be directed towards Renewable Energy (RE) financing.

“With the renewable energy financing put in place, we want to have an ecosystem that gives entrepreneurs, including women-owned SMEs, every opportunity to invest in the renewable energy value chain.

“From the UN SDG fund, we have made US$10 million available; Old Mutual Investment Group is committing US$10 Million while the government through the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ) is committing US$1 million.

“The funding will also help attract additional capital from the private sector and Old Mutual, who is the Fund Manager, is confident in mobilizing additional resources in order to close the Renewable Fund at US$45 million,” Kallon added.

He said the UN will be partnering with capacity building institutions to capacitate financial literacy and technical skills of potential youth and women to access funds for the deployment of RE-related solutions.

“The Joint Programme will establish a full-scale demonstration of concept that will have a significant transformational effect through technical assistance, unlocking private sector funding and business models to support and deepen the RE value chain.

“It will positively benefit targeted communities and demonstrate the cross-cutting developmental nature of RE through the creation of local green economies, with new entrepreneurship opportunities, incomes and job creation.”

According to the UN Coordinator, the joint programme also has an enormous potential to substantially advance the country’s attainment of its SDG goals, particularly in empowering rural off-grid communities in Zimbabwe, who are the most left behind.