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Zim Firm Gets $1m Grant for Solar Project

Zimbabwean independent power producer, Oxygen Energy Private Limited, has secured an external grant of nearly $1 million for development of a 20 megawatt solar project on rooftops for buildings owned by Old Mutual.

The grant was provided by the African Development Bank (AfDB) under its Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (Sefa) and aims to ensure steady supplies of electricity to tenants renting Old Mutual properties covered by the project, especially small scale enterprises.

Launched in 2012, Sefa is a $95 million multi-donor facility funded by the governments of Denmark, the United Kingdom, the United States and Italy to promote development of sustainable energy projects in Africa.

Oxygen Energy on the other hand is a subsidiary of Zimbabwean investment firm, Oxygen Africa Private Limited which has interests in precious metals, renewable energy, ICT and agriculture.

“This highly innovative project will provide reliable and competitive solar power to multiple SMEs throughout the country,” said the AfDB in a statement.

It is estimated that the project will cut the use of around 12 million litres of diesel annually previously used to provide supplementary power.

“It will also have an impact on employment creation since the project will activate, re-activate or create new employment in SMEs (as a result of availability of steady power) for around 3 790 men and 4 166 women,” the AfDB said.

The continental bank said the project was also aligned to the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset 2013) and the government’s preference for distributed energy solutions. 

Zim-Asset is an economic blueprint that was crafted by the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU PF) government in 2013 as part of its developmental and political campaign initiative. It was enshrined in the party's manifesto as part of its long term development agenda. The blueprint began to be implemented as government policy from October 2013 soon after the presidential elections.
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