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Zimbabwe eyes regional solutions with SADC energy pact

Nyashadzashe Ndoro

Chief Reporter

Zimbabwe’s Parliament this week approved the ratification of the amended Southern African Development Community Protocol on Energy, a move seen as a positive step towards addressing the country’s energy woes.

The decision comes amidst crippling power shortages that have stifled economic activity and caused frustration among citizens and businesses alike.

While not currently a signatory to the protocol, Zimbabwe expressed eagerness to join the agreement, which promotes regional cooperation and coordination in the energy sector. The amended protocol allows citizen participation, efficient resource use, and the adoption of clean energy technologies, all crucial aspects for Zimbabwe’s energy future, according to the Deputy Minister of Energy Yeukai Simbanegavi.

Zanu PF MP Shacky Timburwa championed the ratification, highlighting the potential benefits for Zimbabwe.

“Our region is endowed with diverse energy resources, including gas, biomass, petroleum, hydro and wind. The institutional changes within Sadc must necessarily respond to the ongoing policy reforms in the energy sector. Therefore, in my capacity as a fellow legislator and an energy expert with extensive corporate experience, I support the resolution of this august House that the amended Sadc Protocol on Energy be approved for ratification,” he said.

The protocol’s focus on fostering a “balanced electricity generation mix” resonated with Edwin Mushoriwa, another legislator who questioned the three-year delay in seeking parliamentary approval.

He cited the urgency of the situation, highlighting frequent breakdowns at Hwange and Kariba power stations, and urged the government to act swiftly in leveraging regional solutions.

Other legislators, like Shakespeare Hamauswa, viewed the ratification as a sign of Zimbabwe’s commitment to regional cooperation and adherence to Sadc protocols. They see it as an opportunity to attract much-needed investment in the energy sector, a crucial step towards ending the debilitating load shedding.

“It is also important because there is a move across the world towards cleaner fuels which I think if our country participates fully within the region, it will also indicate its willingness to participate fully in international agreements which then binds countries from different continents. 

“I believe that when it comes to regional or financing on energy development, the Government of Zimbabwe benefits because it is showing the willingness to be bound by such protocols.  If it fails to ratify such protocols, then no one will be willing to give funding and energy in Zimbabwe is a critical issue. We have load shedding, we believe that signing of this protocol is going to open doors for investment in the energy sector,” Hamauswa noted.

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