By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
ZAMBIA has secured over US$1 billion investments in the renewable energy for the next five years, says Economic Association of Zambia (EAZ) president, Lubinda Haabazoka.
Dr Haabazoka said that had been done the creation of an initiative called ‘Greeco’ to help push for investment in solar energy.
He said the initiative was a joint venture between Zambia through the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the French Development Agency (FDA).
Greeco, he said, was launched at the just ended K5 million EAZ economic summit which attracted 15 countries and over 700 participants.
Dr Haabazoka said this yesterday in Lusaka at a media briefing.
“Among the subjects discussed where the energy problem and the current load shedding, the fastest intervention was creation of an entity that was going to seek for funding to enhance investments in the energy sector,
“At the moment ZESCO has borrowed money to build hydro power stations across the country, so the among the interventions we saw at the summit was the launch of Greeco, a company created with support of IDC, FDA and other agencies,” Dr Haabazoka said.
Dr Haabazoka also said about US$100 million had therefore been secured to invest in the Greeco investment. He said Greeco would complement the work of ZESCO by borrowing resources at a cheap rate then invest in alternative energy sources.
Other interventions, Dr Haabazoka said, was the need for commercial banks to provide more funding to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) while reducing interest rates.
Dr Haabazoka observed that the Zambian financial markets continued to face high interest rates and liquidity challenges that had hampered SME growth.
He stressed the need for meaningful and sustainable funding to SMEs to allow them blossom. “There is need for more meaningful access to finance for SMEs through addressing and waiving stringent requirements that banks request for SMEs such as audited financials and collateral,” Dr Haabazoka said.