The European Union has given government, a grant of 23 million Euros towards the 62.5 million Euros Increased Access to Electricity and Renewable Energy Production (IAEREP) project under the Rural Electrification Authority (REA).
ZANIS reports that Secretary to the Treasurer Fredson Yamba signed on behalf of the Zambia government while the ambassador of the European Union delegation to Zambia and COMESA, Jacek Jankwoski signed on behalf of the EU during the virtual grant signing and launch of the project held in Lusaka today.
Minister of Energy Mathew Nkhuwa, speaking at the function, said he was excited that the project was aimed at increasing modern energy services targeting especially rural areas.
Mr Nkhuwa said the support provided by the European Union could not have come at a more opportune time with provision of 23 million Euro grant funding to various private developers in the off grid space.
He further said it is gratifying to note that implementation of the off grid projects would provide access to electricity services to more than 50 thousand people and 500 Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) across the country.
Mr Nkhuwa said the project will further reduce poverty as well as promote rural economic growth through women involvement in order to promote gender equality.
He urged private companies awarded the grants to ensure that the intended benefits from the programme reach the targeted rural communities as final beneficiaries.
And Ambassador Jacek Jankwoski said he was glad to see that the clean energy development project is one of the key priorities for the Zambian government as stated in the seventh national development plan.
Ambassador Jankwoski said massive investment in the renewable sector are key to the realisation of the European Green Deal’s political priority.
He said these projects will be a unique opportunity to stimulate the emergence of viable business models for decentralised solutions that shall attract private capital for promoting affordable and sustainable energy services.
Meanwhile Rural Electrification Authority (REA) Chief Executive Officer Clement Silavwe said the authority was grateful for the support it is receiving from co-operating partners and directly from government.
Mr Silavwe pledged the authority commitment to work with all stakeholders and submit reports as required.