FINANCE Minister Felix Mutati says several investors have shown interest to tap into Zambia’s energy sector through massive solar initiatives as one of the measures to mitigate the energy deficit the country is grappling with.
Mr Mutati who is in Gujarat, Ahmedabad, attending the African Development Bank (AfDB) Annual Meetings, said a number of investors were interested in investing in the energy sector which had potential for growth.
He said in an interview the Government would invite three investors to Zambia to further discuss on how they could tap into the energy sector via solar solutions.
“Already this afternoon (yesterday) we have had massive inquiries from investors across the globe that are willing to come to Zambia and invest in the solar space taking a chance on opportunities just displayed a few minutes. So we are going to invite at least three investors to come and invest in the solar space because it is beneficial, “he said.
He said the government would, however, involve the local people in the projects as a way of empowering them.
He said there was also need for a change of mindset and people should appreciate that solar energy was also good as the country continued to diversify on the energy mix.
“We want to involve the local people because they can no longer be bystanders and watch technology pass by. They must be part and parcel of the action,” he said.
Mr Mutati said Zambia was particularly interested in two of the high five sectors, which were at the centre of the AfDB development and these were agriculture and energy development.
Mr Mutati said in the agricultural sector, focus was also on the people at the bottom as they were the ones who had the opportunities to create wealth and reduce poverty.
He said last week, he visited Chipata city with the World Bank team, where they saw how Common Markets for Conservation (COMACO) model of investing in the local people was doing well to alleviate poverty.
Mr Mutati said COMACO was providing market opportunities to farmers that had value addition to the produce thereby creating wealth and jobs for them.
“We need to bring those models to scale. We need to replicate them in various parts of Zambia,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Mutati said he was inspired by the speech delivered by Indian Prime minister Narendra Damodardas Modi during the official opening of the 2017 Annual Meetings yesterday that India and Africa would strengthen cooperation and that it had set aside US$10 billion to support the connectivity of activities in terms of development.
He said there were a lot of similarities in the challenges and opportunities that India and Africa faced, hence the need to collaborate on the development front.
He said the only difference was the passion at which decisions were implemented in India and that his team had constructive decisions on how to improve people’s lives.
“We have had productive conversations, we have constructed great ideas but the missing link is to convert all that into practical output that changes people’s lives, “he said.