‘Over 10 000 rural institutions electrified’
THE Rural Electrification Agency (REA) has electrified close to 10 000 rural institutions in the country since 2002, Energy deputy minister Magna Mudyiwa has said.
Mudyiwa, who commissioned the electrification of Nyamanyora business centre, clinic, primary and secondary school in Mudzi in Mashonaland East recently, said the government was determined to speed up the electrification of rural areas in Zimbabwe.
“To date, the Fund has electrified 9 427 rural institutions countrywide, using both grid and solar technologies. In Mashonaland East alone, the REA has electrified 1 309 institutions, of which 129 are in Mudzi District.
“These include 25 primary schools out of 53, 24 secondary schools out of 32, 28 rural health centres out of 37, five chiefs’ homesteads out of seven and 20 business centres, among others.
“The Nyamanyora Electrification project which has a total line length of 16km cost US$286 230,” Mudyiwa said.
She said the electrification of rural areas will go a long way in empowering communities and help reverse the rural-urban migration.
“The provision of electricity in the rural areas will no doubt lead to the empowerment of our rural communities, alleviate poverty, build capacity and create employment, which will lead to sustainable development and social equity in Zimbabwe.
“Many other benefits will accrue, among them the reversal of rural-urban migration and economic activities in downstream industries,” the deputy minister said.
In 2002, the government established the Rural Electrification Fund (REF), through an Act of Parliament, to facilitate the rapid and equitable electrification of rural areas in Zimbabwe, thereby promoting rural development and uplifting of the lifestyles of rural Zimbabweans.
“The Rural Electrification Programme has the potential to improve the quality of life in rural areas of Zimbabwe.
“Many schools are now electrified and connected to internet services. Teachers who used to shun working in rural areas before their schools were electrified are now happier to work in rural areas.
“Similarly in rural health centres, electricity has brought positive changes. Child mortality rate has been reduced and expecting mothers who were asked to bring their own lighting such as candles and paraffin lamps to the clinics in the past are now giving birth in well-lit and conducive environments.
“Similarly, the cold chain which is essential in the handling of some drugs and vaccines has been made available in rural health centres,” Mudyiwa said.