Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Zimbabwe energy and power conference gets under way

Zimbabwe energy and power conference gets under way

28 September, 2011 13:42
Patrick Musira

Zimbabwe’s first international energy and power conference opened in the 
capital on Tuesday with the government inviting foreign investors to explore 
the enormous opportunities that could be mutually beneficial to both 
investors and the country.

Zimbabwe’s power demand outstrips supply, with the country’s total installed 
capacity at about 1,960MW. However, only about 1,200MW of that is 
dependable, so the shortfall is great.

But there’s light at the end of the tunnel and enough space for the private 
sector to play its part in the energy and power sector in Zimbabwe, say 
industry experts.

Phanuel Muverengwi, deputy director in the ministry of energy and power 
development, says the country now has an open energy policy.

Before 2003, the fuel energy sector was a closed market with the National 
Oil Company (Noczim) being the sole importer of fuel into the country. At 
that stage the six international oil companies with a local presence – BP, 
Shell, Caltex, Chevron, Mobil and Total – only served as distributors. “Now 
the situation is different,” said Muverengwi.

Most of the fuel came via the Beira (Mozambique) to Msasa (Harare) pipeline 
with those six companies being distributors, while local players were found 
as retailers.

With the political and economic environment now stable and looking up, 
Muverengwi says “most of the consumption is now floating and corking between 
75 million and 100 million litres a month, mostly diesel and petrol, with 
the balance given to Jet A1″.

“Because of the expected boom in the mining sector, especially in the 
midlands, there are unique opportunities for investors in the storage, 
distribution and customer convenience sectors,” he said.

Patrick Chivaura, business development director at the Zimbabwe Electricity 
Supply Authority also spoke at the conference. “The government is addressing 
the challenges that threaten to plunge the country into darkness and grind 
industry to a halt,” he said.

Like most countries in the Southern Africa region, the country is facing an 
energy and power crisis and electricity load shedding and unscheduled power 
outages are becoming more frequent and taking longer to restore.

“But the power crisis in Zimbabwe cannot be solved by the authority alone,” 
he said, urging other players – both local and foreign – to join in and 
exploit the opportunities available.

Chivaura enjoined the private sector to emulate the Brazilian experience, 
where the private sector has a large stake in energy provision.

He pointed out that the government was fully aware that power players, as 
business, also needed a return on their investments.

“We are open to discussing a favourable tariff model. So, come and let’s 
engage,” he told the conference, which was well attended by regional power 
heavyweights as well as industry experts from China and India.


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