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Zimbabwe Keen on Clean Energy, Kasukuwere Tells Climate Summit

Zimbabwe's Environment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere.

Zimbabwe is keen to participate in the Africa Clean Energy Corridor initiative that seeks to promote a regional approach to developing a larger share of clean, cost-effective renewable power in the energy mix to support Africa’s economic development, Environment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere said Tuesday.

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly at the Climate Change Summit in New York on initiatives being taken by Zimbabwe to mitigate the effects of climate change, Kasukuwere said Africa has immense renewable energy resources but needs assistance from developed nations he said should play a leading role in stabilizing the global climate.

Discussions on the creation of the corridor have already been initiated with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Zimbabwe views climate change as a very serious issue, said Kasukuwere. “Our main sector of climate change mitigation focus is the energy sector, which is the main source of greenhouse gases in the country.”

He said Zimbabwe, like most southern African countries, is failing to adequately satisfy the energy requirements of the nation, leading to the considerable depletion of its forests for energy purposes.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has a mixture of both developing, least developed and small island states whose economies are generally weak, thus limiting their adaptive capacities to climate change, said the minister.

As a result the southern African region is experiencing significant impacts on key sectors such as water, energy, fisheries and health due to climate change.

He urged developed nations to wise up to the fact that climate change is real, adding the West should help pay to mitigate the effects of climate change.

The cost of technology transfer from the developed world, particularly in the energy sector, is partly to blame for the continuing depletion of Africa, said Kasukuwere.

“Developed countries must provide adequate means of implementation, including the finance, technology and capacity building needed to enable developing countries to address mitigation and adaptation.”

He said Harare is in the process of developing a Renewable Energy Policy in its efforts to reduce greenhouse emission.

A new policy requiring all dams being constructed in the country to include hydropower generation has been approved. Private companies are operating as independent power producers, injecting 18 megawatts into the national grid with two major projects expected to contribute an additional 1200 megawatts from a mix of renewable and thermal sources, which is about 66 percent of the country’s peak demand, by 2016.

Another three renewable energy projects to contribute 600 megawatts each by 2016 are being discussed

The minister said Harare has put in place policies to help safeguard the country’s forests.

Kasukuwere hailed the climate change summit as “an important moment in our global effort to close the gap and reaffirm a multilateral response, and tackle climate change and ensure a brighter future for our citizens.”