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Government of Zimbabwe Commissions ZimFund Bulawayo Power Projects
Zimbabwe’s Minister of Energy and Power Development, Samuel Undenge, officially commissioned the ZimFund Emergency Power Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project in Bulawayo on 12 November. The ceremonies were held at Mpopoma and Criterion Substations, where two 20 MVA transformers were installed under the first phase of the Project.
The power project was financed by the Zimbabwe Multi-Donor Trust Fund (ZimFund). The contributing donors to ZimFund are Australia, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The Fund, has to date provided $145 million towards rehabilitation of key infrastructure in the areas of water and sanitation, and energy.
In the first phase of the Emergency Power Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project (EPIRP 1), Bulawayo and its environs, which are under the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) Western region, were allocated US $12.6 million towards stabilizing and improving power services in the region.
In his speech, Minister Undenge thanked ZimFund for the positive contribution of the project and noted that the Government of Zimbabwe was committed to work with the donor community and non-state actors towards the development of the country. He also applauded the ZimFund extension, stating that it will enable the project to continue working towards improving social service delivery to Zimbabwean citizens.
“It is said that several industrial institutions have showered praises on ZimFund as they are no longer being subjected to repeated power outages, which are now a thing of the past. Notable among them is Delta Beverages,” he said.
The Minister also revealed that a new company which has invested in Zimbabwe in the beverages sector was intending to set up in Bulawayo because there is now more secure power in the city.
Bulawayo Provincial Minister Eunice Sandi Moyo expressed gratitude to ZimFund for improving the well-being of Bulawayo citizens.
“We thank ZimFund for its commitment to raising quality of life of Bulawayo residents. This project is a dream come true and has bridged large gaps,” she said.
In her speech, Christina Landsberg, the representative for ZimFund donors, commended ZimFund’s efforts in improving service delivery as evidenced by the tangible proof of the substations rehabilitated.
“I am very honoured to represent donors whose passion and interests is demonstrated by their support towards infrastructure rehabilitation in partnership with the Government of Zimbabwe and the African Development Bank. It’s a productive and constructive partnership and I thank the Bank and Government of Zimbabwe for the way they have constructively engaged with donors on this programme,” Landsberg said.
“What is really pleasing is to see the very tangible proof of how money is used in some substations and hearing the results that the project benefits so many people,” Landsberg later said in an interview on the sidelines of the event.
Speaking at the same event, Mary Monyau, standing in for Mateus Magala, Resident Representative of the African Development Bank (AfDB), said the Bank will continue to work with other donors and the Government to address impediments hampering economic recovery and ensure that over time more resources are mobilized for the development of the country.
“This is a strong witness to the fruits of the cooperation between the various actors in the implementation of the ZimFund program,” Monyau added. “In so many ways, the rehabilitation of power and water infrastructure symbolizes the Bank’s quest to end poverty and support Zimbabwe’s transformation, and the whole of Africa at large.
“The African Development Bank is here to serve Zimbabwe and to see this great country return to prosperity, find its place as one of the economic engines of Africa, and for the improvement of the welfare of its people,” Monyau said.
Works done at Mpopoma Substation has seen 278 industries benefitting, including Mpilo Hospital, which is the major referral hospital in Matabeleland Region, in addition to four schools, 4,500 households, irrigation schemes, housing schemes and clinics. Works done at Criterion Substation benefitted one water treatment works, which serves nearly 400,000 Bulawayo residents, eight healthcare institutions serving a total of 85,000 people, one institute of higher education serving over 9,000 people, 39 schools (12 secondary and 27 primary) serving over 20,100 people and water pumps, sewage treatment plants, and sewage pumps in the Plumtree and Figtree area that are serving over 25,000 people.
“This is a very critical installation, we are very proud that US $12.6 million was used in Matabeleland Region,” Zesa’s General Manager Lovemore Chinaka said while briefing stakeholders at Mpopoma Substation.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Engineer George Mlilo echoed these sentiments, noting that due to rehabilitation works done, water-borne diseases such as dysentery and cholera were now a thing of the past.
Engineer Tinayeshe Mutazu, Director in the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate, urged Bulawayo residents to take good care of the installed infrastructure to ensure sustainability. He also thanked the African Development Bank, the fund manager of ZimFund, for ably administering the fund.
The ZETDC Western Region covers the Matabeleland Region, stretching from Beitbridge to Victoria Falls. Two 20 MVA transformers installed at the two substations have the capacity to supply power to at least 20,000 households. Prior to project intervention, customers were affected by constantly failing transformers and regular power outages.