KELLY NJOMBO, Lusaka
GOVERNMENT and the United Kingdomâ€™s Department for International Development (DfID) have signed an Energy Africa Partnership Agreement, to accelerate the expansion of the household solar market across Zambia.
Head of the UK DfID Zambia Bruce Lawson-McDowall said the decreasing cost of solar panels, improvements in battery technology and energy efficiency, and the spread of mobile payment systems have created a new opportunity for the household solar market.
According to a statement issued last Friday, Mr Lawson-McDowall said the agreement commits both parties to work together to harness the opportunity to increase access to electricity for all Zambians.
â€œThe signing of the Energy Africa Partnership Agreement demonstrates the UKâ€™s willingness to support the Government of Zambia as it prioritises efforts to tackle the energy crisis. We recognise the challenges that Zambia is currently facing with the on-grid energy sector, and the opportunities this presents to unlock the potential of the household solar market,â€ Mr Lawson-McDowall
He said the Energy Africa campaign seeks to secure the policy commitments, technical assistance and financing needed to transform the energy access landscape.
Energy Africa is a campaign to accelerate the expansion of the household solar market in Africa, helping bring universal energy access in the continent forward from 2080 to 2030. It was launched by the UK Department for International Development (DfID) in October 2015, and to date 11 countries have signed partnership agreements, including Zambia.
Mr Lawson-McDowall, signed on behalf of the British government and Brigadier General Emelda Chola, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Energy, signed for the Zambian government.
Mr Lawson-McDowall said the UK is also supporting access to affordable clean energy through hydroelectric power projects such as the Ngonye Falls project by Western Power in Western Province.
He also stressed the need to create the right environment for effective private sector participation in the energy sector.
â€œI believe that achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 7 (of access to affordable and clean energy), in Zambia and Africa more broadly, is essential to eliminating poverty and fostering sustainable and inclusive growth.â€ Mr Lawson-McDowall said.
KELLY NJOMBO, Lusaka