The Government will before the end of this year commence the deployment of 1,500 mini grids across the country to ease the energy deficit experienced by especially rural communities living off the national grid.
The announcement follows a virtual meeting President Hakainde Hichilema held yesterday with the Global Leadership Council of the Rockefeller Foundation where the two parties outlined plans to transform Zambia’s energy landscape by providing electricity to communities living off the national grid.
Mr Hichilema said following the discussion, there would be deployment of around 1,500 mini-grids across the country, with the ground breaking on the first grids to take place before the end of this year.
“These mini-grids will be run as businesses, providing underserved communities with opportunities for increased income and improved health services, among other benefits,” he said on his Facebook page after the meeting.
President Hichilema said the collaborative effort had been made possible with the support of The Rockefeller Foundation and the “Sustainable Energy for All” team, with more partners expected to join in the initiative soon.
He invited youths and co-operatives to seize the opportunity to enhance business, trade, and investment in their communities as the country bridged the energy access gap and built a brighter future for all.
President Hichilema expressed gratitude to Rockefeller Foundation president Dr Raj Shah for the invitation to meeting with the GEAPP Global Leadership Council (GLC).
He said the initiative aligned perfectly with the Government’s vision and dedication to addressing Zambia’s energy access agenda.
Zambia’s energy landscape is marked by significant potential with a capacity of 3.37 million kilowatts in electricity production, ranking 13th among 54 African countries.
He said with rural electrification, the Government’s aim was to raise the electrification rate to 51 per cent by 2030.
“We have made significant strides in promoting renewable energy sources for a more sustainable and diversified energy mix. We are ambitious about transforming Zambia’s energy landscape, we are excited about the Mini-grid Initiative which we will launch in Zambia soon,” he said.
President Hichilema said the ground-breaking initiative represented his administration’s unwavering commitment to extend the benefits of electricity to more than 1,000 communities, effectively illuminating the lives of 1,000,000 people and countless businesses.
He said through the deployment of the mini- grids, the Government aimed to bridge the energy access gap in remote and underserved communities and also empower households with the tools for increased income, education, improved healthcare, and enhanced overall quality of life.