Zambia’s ambassador to Germany Anthony Mukwita says the decision by President Edgar Lungu to remove consumption subsidies from electricity may have been politically risky but was the best decision ever taken in the energy sector.
Addressing a workshop in the German capital Berlin Friday and organized by the Federal Ministry For Economic Affairs and Energy, Ambassador Mukwita said the decision has resulted in the energy sector becoming attractive for investment.
“Consumption subsidies stunted the energy sector due to unattractive returns”, the Ambassador told workshop participants brought together to discuss investment opportunities in the Zambian energy sector.
The Zambian envoy shared the impact of power outages that rocked the country recently saying the bad news gave way to good news as the leadership has now taken decisive steps to turn around the energy sector.
“I lost a tenant in my residential property because his contract was cancelled owing to power outages that the contracting company faced leading to funding challenges; a barbershop owner I knew and a saloon operator I also knew both lost their businesses due to power outages”, Ambassador Mukwita said to illustrate the human impact of the challenges Zambia faced in the energy sector.
The workshop called under the theme ‘Decentralized Energy Supply and Load Management in Zambia” was facilitated by the German International Cooperation that has been working on development projects and programs in Zambia.
Zambian participants included Joel Mwale from the Copperbelt Energy Company (CEC) and Linus Chanda, a Zambian energy expert.
The two representatives from the energy sector shared the policy, legal and institutional frameworks of the generation and supply of electricity.
Mr. Chanda, a former director with ZESCO now CEO of WindSunEnergy, a private company presented on the opportunities for private companies in the energy sector.
Mr. Chanda the fact that Germany held a workshop on the energy sector in Zambia confirms the opportunities that Zambia has to offer investors.
“It is humbling for us that the German business community could recognize Zambia’s investment climate”, said Mr. Chanda.
On his part, Mr. Mwale, Director Renewable Energy of CEC presented on the Solar PV prospects on the Copperbelt.
In an apparent response to the need for the decentralization of the energy sector, Mr. Mwale said CEC has partnered with the Copperbelt University where the institution will have its students studying electrical engineering attached to the company solar energy production project.
“Partnering with the university is for us a sustainable way of sharing energy solutions”, says Mr. Mwale.
Since the massive load shedding of 2015, the Zambian government has embarked on significant investments in the energy sector blending various energy solutions that go beyond hydroelectric power to include solar, wind, bio and nuclear.
This is according to a statement issued in Berlin by First Secretary for Press at the Zambian Embassy in Germany Kellys Kaunda.