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Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Government lines up power generation projects to curb electricity shortages

Story by Theophilus Chuma

The government is working round the clock to close the current electricity deficit as a number of power generation projects are lined up to feed the national grid.

Completion of one of the major power generation plants in Hwange is on the horizon with the government confirming that the Hwange Unit 7 and 8 power stations will soon go live on the national grid.

This was confirmed at a post-cabinet media briefing in Harare this Tuesday.

Senator Monica Mutsvangwa, the Minister of Information, Publicity And Broadcasting Services said in the 36th post-cabinet media briefing, “The Minister of Energy and Power Development presented the progress on projects under his portfolio as follows: the Hwange 7 and 8 Expansion Project in Matabeleland North Province has achieved a 97.2% completion level to date, with Unit 7 set for commissioning by end of December 2022; the Alaska-Karoi (132KV) Power Transmission Rehabilitation Project in Mashonaland West Province achieved 38% overall completion level surpassing the 30% set for the targeted period.”

She added, “On the Great Zimbabwe Mini Hydro Power Station in Masvingo Province which is entirely financed through a Public Private Partnership, the set target of completing the access road achieved 95%, while the Lease Agreement with Zim Parks was signed, and the contract for the construction of the transmission line is set for signing by mid-December 2022; on the Mataruse Large Anchor Project in Gutu District of Masvingo Province, it is reported that the 33.25 km Voltage Line leading to all benefitting institutions was completed.”

She said transformers have been delivered to institutions such as Dandavare Primary School and Gudza Primary and Secondary Schools, Ruti Irrigation Scheme, Mataruse Business Centre, Mataruse Primary and Secondary School, Clinic and AREX.

Pertaining to the Masenda Project in the Mudzi District of Mashonaland East Province, all the 18,84 km of the 33kv High Voltage line and 2,2 km medium voltage line were completed. The project has benefitted Masenda Business Centre, Rural Health Centre, Primary and Secondary School, AREX as well as Kawaza Rural Health Centre, AREX and Business Centre and Makochera Primary School and AREX.

In addition, there are a number of power projects currently lined up to boost capacity, according to Engineer Gloria Magombo, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Power Development.

This Tuesday’s cabinet meeting also stated the outcomes from the just concluded COP27 Summit held in Egypt.

“Key outcomes of the Conference of Parties include the following:

  • A breakthrough agreement was reached on a new Loss and Damage Fund for Vulnerable Countries which sets the pace for the way forward on funding loss and damage and addresses the impacts of climate change on communities. The Global Goal on Adaptation was adopted by COP 27 to inform the first Global Stocktake with the aim of improving resilience amongst the most vulnerable.
  • New pledges totalling more than US$230 million were made to the Adaptation Fund to help some vulnerable communities to adapt to climate change.
  • The COP 27 gave prominence to young people, who made their voices heard through the first-of-its-kind pavilion for children and youths, as well as through the first-ever youth-led Climate Forum.
  • The five-year work programme to promote climate technology solutions in developing countries was launched. COP 27 noted the progress made by developed countries in the market-based carbon trade system.

Cabinet wishes to highlight that Zimbabwe, for the first time, mounted a pavilion where various Zimbabwean stakeholders conducted different events. These included the launch of the Zimbabwe Climate Change Gender Action Plan, bilateral meetings, and meetings with potential investors and international participants.

The Zimbabwe Youths also conducted five events on various topics which attracted huge crowds.

While the COP 27 was dubbed the Implementation COP, it was apparent that developed countries want to abdicate their responsibility of financing efforts to address climate change.

However, the establishment of the Loss and Damage Fund will go a long way in providing relief funding to Governments which are spending a lot of money responding to disasters caused by climate change.”

Cabinet also looked at the concluded CITES meeting where the trade on endangered species continues to be the elephant in the room for SADC countries.

Noted Senator Mutsvangwa, “Cabinet received the Report on the 19th CITES Conference held in Panama City from 14 to 25 November 2022, as presented by the Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Honourable N.M. Ndlovu. Cabinet wishes to highlight that Zimbabwe made four proposals at the CITES Conference. These were as follows: Zimbabwe proposed an amendment to the voting procedure to assign several votes per representative proportionate to the population size of the species under discussion or whose status is subject to voting. Some countries supported the proposal which was however rejected following a vote.

“The country proposed to remove the requirement that Zimbabwe’s elephants listed in Appendix II can only be traded to acceptable destinations. The proposal had 15 members in favour, 83 against and 17 abstained. The proposal on establishing a Rural Communities Committee, received no consensus from members and an inter-sessional working group was set up to consider the issue and make recommendations to CITES. Zimbabwe, in conjunction with Botswana, Namibia, Cambodia and Eswathini submitted a proposal to include consideration of livelihoods and food security which was also rejected. Other member states made a total of six submissions to CITES in the following areas:

  • Transfer of the populations of African Elephant in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe from Appendix II to I which was rejected;
  • Transfer of Common Hippopotamus from Appendix II to I which was rejected; International trade in live African elephant specimens, for which CITES agreed to establish a dialogue platform at which expert groups and interested parties would participate;
  • One Health and the CITES: Reducing Human and Animal Health Risks from Wildlife Trade to prevent the risk of future pandemics as a result of zoonotic pathogens and disease transmission, which is beyond the scope of the CITES mandate, and a working group was established to prepare a document on the issue;
  • Establishing a Fund accessible to Range States Upon Non-commercial Disposal of Ivory Stockpiles, which was rejected; and Definition of the term appropriate and acceptable destinations, for which a proposal by the EU to establish a legal framework for the relevant trade was adopted.

Given the divisions that continue to widen among African regions at CITES, Cabinet agreed that the matter be taken up through engagements with fellow African nations and, where possible discussed at the AU Council of Ministers Meeting so that Africa comes up with a common position devoid of the influence of the former colonial masters and civil society organisations.”

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