By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
ZAMBIA’S Ambassador to France, Christine Kaseba-Sata, has urged French companies to invest beyond the line of rail and capture the rural market as there is still a huge potential for energy investment.
Dr Kaseba-Sata said access to electricity and clean cooking methods especially in rural areas by far contributed to reducing pollution related diseases due to the traditional use of biomass.
Unfortunately, she said, the use of biomass for energy in emerging economies, Zambia inclusive, had continued to increase which was not only a public health risk, but also a threat to the sustainability of the environment.
She was speaking in Lusaka at the Renewable Energy in Zambia Conference under the theme “Opportunities for French and Zambian compa-nies.”
“Our women in rural areas spend time harvesting fuel wood which is unsustainable and in the process, they lose their productive time
“I, however, do acknowledge that some French companies are already in the rural areas investing in off-grid solutions. This is a testimony that even in the rural areas, energy business is possible,” Dr Kaseba-Sata said.
She said renewables were expected to lead Zambia’s energy consumption growth.
Dr Kaseba-Sata said access to modern energy was a central pillar in reducing poverty and support economic development in many emerging economies.
She testified how the diversification of the energy mix had changed the energy landscape in most countries especially in Europe.
“Just last month, Portugal’s latest solar auction closed with the world record-breaking low price of US$13.12 per megawatt hour or 1.31 cents per kilowatt hour. Obviously, conditions are much different between Europe and Africa, but this is an indication that solar energy is promoting a reduction in the cost of electricity.
“As such, I look forward in more solar energy power projects that would arise from our discussions today. Equally, I look forward for other renewable energy projects such as geothermal and wind power,” Dr Kase-ba-Sata said.
By BUUMBA CHIMBULU