The Zambian Government has received a 23 million Euros grant from The European Union (EU), 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 during the virtual grant signing and launch of the project held today in Lusaka, the Zambian capital, Secretary to the cabinet 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.
While speaking at the function, Minister of Energy Mathew Nkhuwa, said he was excited that the project was aimed at increasing modern energy services targeting rural areas in particular.
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, the minister said.
Nkhuwa 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.
He went on to say that with this project, poverty will be further reduced and rural economic growth will be promoted through women involvement in order to promote gender equality.
The minister urged private companies who were awarded the grants to ensure that the intended benefits from the programme trickled down to the targeted rural communities who are the final beneficiaries.
And Ambassador Jacek Jankwoski expressed gladness 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.
He said massive investment in the renewable sector are key to the realisation of the European Green Deal’s political priority.
Ambassador Jankwoski said projects like these will be a unique opportunity to stimulate the emergence of viable business models for decentralised solutions that will attract private capital for promoting affordable and sustainable energy services.
Meanwhile the Chief Executive Officer of Rural Electrification Authority (REA), Clement Silavwe said the authority was grateful for the support it is receiving from co-operating partners and directly from the Zambian government.
Mr Silavwe pledged the full commitment of the authority to work with all stakeholders and submit reports as required.