TEDDY KUYELA, Lusaka
THE Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has urged Government to urgently invest in solar energy as an alternative source of energy to cushion the power deficit the country is currently experiencing.
COMESA secretary-general Sindiso Ngwenya said it is sad that Zambia is experiencing an energy power deficit when the country has potential to produce between 5, 000 to 7, 000 megawatts of solar energy if there is proper investment in the sector.
Mr Ngwenya said this in Lusaka yesterday when newly appointed Italian Ambassador to COMESA Filipo Del-Murgo presented his credentials at the COMESA secretariat.
â€œZambia should invest more in the energy sector, especially solar, so that the country can industrialise. People should also understand that Zambia is in this crisis because the decision to invest in the sector was not taken much earlier by the other governments.
â€œThis country has potential to produce between 5,000 and 7, 000 megawatts and if we invest more in this sector, we will have more power to export to other countries in the region,â€ he said.
Mr Ngwenya also said COMESA is ready to finance the rolling out of solar energy to rural areas to help energy consumers deal with the power deficit, currently estimated at about around 560 megawatts.
He also said COMESA is happy that Italy has so far spent 695 million euros to support the development of the Least Development Countries (LDCs), much of which has gone in supporting the implementation of development programmes in the sub-Saharan countries.
Mr Ngwenya asked the Italian government to invest in railway development as well as the leather sector in the COMESA region.
And Mr Del-Murgo pledged his Governmentâ€™s continued financial and technical support to programmes aimed at uplifting the living standards of people in the COMESA region.
He also said his Government would continue to support the implementation of development programmes that will help to create wealth as well as decent jobs in the COMESA region.
TEDDY KUYELA, Lusaka