For the past decade, Zimbabwe has suffered perennial power blackouts that have decimated industry and livelihoods alike.
Cash-strapped and crises-riddled, the government has had little capacity to tackle the problem. A permanent fix has simply been elusive, or so it seems.
But one renewable energy expert is predicting light at the end of the tunnel following a new government policy pronouncement.
“What has been letting us down is lack of commitment on clean energy and a clear policy by the government,” says clean energy advocate Thubelihle Moyo.
“But this is changing because we’ve seen the Ministry of Energy trying to come up with what they call the Renewable Energy and Independent Power Policy.”
Moyo is one of the 60 promising young Zimbabweans taking part in the six-week Mandela Washington Fellowship this year starting mid-June.
With more than eight years’ experience in renewable energy and power generation, he is a lead consultant at G-Xila Consulting, a sustainable energy consultancy firm he founded three years ago.
Moyo’s passion for clean energy, particularly solar power, runs deep. He is concerned about climate change and believes with clean energy, the phenomenon can be brought under control.
“Renewable energy is the future. So far the energy sources that we’ve been using are very unclean, and have had a detrimental effect on our climate,” he tells VOA Studio 7.
“We’re hearing of weather patterns changing, there are floods in some places; droughts in other areas because we have been employing energy systems that are no eco-friendly.”
While the government has been sluggish on its uptake of solar technology, ordinary Zimbabweans have responded positively; Moyo says
“People are seriously taking up renewable energy as evidenced by the amount of panels that you see around, even vendors on the streets are now selling solar panels, clean cook stoves and such other paraphernalia,” he adds.
Moyo, who holds an Honours degree in Physics, a Master of Science degree in Renewable Energy and an Executive MBA, will do his studies at the Rutgers University in New Jersey.
“It’s an exciting opportunity that will enable me to meet with other like-minded African leaders who want to improve their communities especially in the area of providing them with clean and sustainable energy,” he says of the Mandela Washington Fellowship.