By Jabulani Chisipo
There are plenty of opportunities for women to venture into the energy business in Zimbabwe if given the necessary support and exposure and there is need for women to become Independent Power Producers (IPP) in their own right as currently there are no female IPP’s in Zimbabwe.
This was said by the Deputy Minister of Energy and Power Development ( MOEPD ), Tsitsi Muzenda at a two day Women in Energy in Zimbabwe Conference which was held in Harare under the theme: “Breaking Barriers: Promoting Active Participation of Women in the Energy Sector.”
This inaugural conference was hosted by the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) as part of a series of robust engagements with key stakeholders aimed at sharing experiences, exploring policy and legal provisions and gaps in respect of women’s participation in the energy sector.
The conference presented an opportunity for women to share information, create networks, acquire knowledge, learn from others and identify opportunities to actively participate in the energy space.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development, Ms. Nyasha Chikwinya commended the initiatives that have been made by the MOEPD to promote women’s participation in the energy sector and pointed out that her Ministry would support such initiatives.
UN Women Deputy Country Representative, Ms. Caroline Nyamayemombe said there was need to relook at the country’s energy policies with a gender lens. Any policies that are put in place should have a bias towards supporting women’s participation in the energy sector.
Nyamayemombe added that there is need to build and invest in women’s capacity in the energy sector as it is a specialised business that requires technical knowledge.
According to the ZERA Board Chairperson, Dr E. Khosa, research has shown that participation of women in the energy sector at any level such as in the production, generation, supply or as aggregators of energy technologies, has vast implications in terms of increasing uptake of modern energy in communities and employment creation.
The ZimAsset blue print and MOEPD’s targets are clear with respect to improving the country’s energy security for economic development and universal access to clean and modern energy by 2018 and 2030 respectively.