UNTAPPED natural gas and vast renewable resources present business opportunities for investors from across the world to come to Zimbabwe and do business while the country is modernising despite setbacks caused by Covid-19, natural disasters and the illegal economic sanctions.
While virtually addressing the United Nations General Assembly’s second annual Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Moment and also contributing to the high-level dialogue on energy at the ongoing global indaba in New York, US, President Mnangagwa said although the pandemic impended economic growth, the country is on a path to recovery.
In his virtual contribution in the high-level dialogue on SDG7, which aims to “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all,” President Mnangagwa said as the world moves to recover from the effects of Covid-19, equitable access to energy is fundamental, stressing that investors are welcome to Zimbabwe.
“Zimbabwe launched a National Renewable Energy Policy, in a bid to increase access to clean and affordable energy and to achieve clear targets for renewable energy, based on the Nationally Determined Contributions, as well as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
“My Government is targeting to effectively harness its renewable energy potential, improve installed power generation capacity, diversify the domestic energy sector and boost national energy security. In support of this thrust, my Government has availed fiscal incentives to promote investment in the energy sector.
“Power generation and transmission, untapped natural gas and renewable resources in my country present abundant business and investment opportunities. We stand ready therefore to welcome new investments in these and other areas to diversify our domestic energy sector and to boost country-wide energy security,” President Mnangagwa said.
This year, the hybrid UNGA is being held under the theme “Building Resilience through Hope to Recover from Covid-19, Rebuild Sustainably, Respond to the Needs of the Planet, Respect the Rights of People, and Revitalise the United Nations”.
To transition from fossil energy such as coal to renewable sources, President Mnangagwa said, there was a need to support and finance the process especially for developing countries.
On the SDGs Moment in Covid-19 times, the President said despite present challenges his Government is determined to chart policies and institute reforms that will accelerate sustainable development.
“The pursuit to end poverty, create decent jobs, reduce inequalities, promote access to quality social services for all Zimbabweans, remains on course,” he said.
This is underpinned by the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) which is the country’s economic blueprint that is being implemented through a private sector-led economic
development towards Vision 2030 to become an upper-middle-class economy.
The President also apprised the SDGs Moment on interventions that his Government made to cushion vulnerable groups as well as insulate the industry from the pandemic.
“The advent of the Covid-19 pandemic saw my country introduce multi-pronged strategies to adapt to the new normal. These included an economic strategy that supported business and cushioned industry; especially women and youth-owned small to medium enterprises. Social protection coverage to vulnerable groups was broadened, while a free Covid-19 national vaccination programme continues to be rolled out for all citizens.
“This has resulted in increased throughput for agriculture value chain industries as well as improved incomes. The participation of women and youth in the economy has subsequently widened, thereby addressing SDGs 1, 2, 5, and 8.
“Zimbabwe also reviewed its National Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Policy towards transforming the sector into formalised, innovative, export-oriented, and competitive enterprises”, said the President.
Zimbabwe which has vaccinated more than 4 million people with at least a single dose of the Covid-19 antidotes, has met the World Health Organisation (WHO) goal to fully vaccinate more than 10 percent of its population by September.
“With regards SDG 3, Zimbabwe rolled out an innovative Health Financing Policy and Strategy and increased investments in public health infrastructure as well as skills development for our health service personnel.
“This has culminated in the reduction in maternal and under-five mortalities as well as a general decline in HIV prevalence.
“Strides are being made in the education sector with focus now on innovation and competence-based education towards building a knowledge economy,” the President said.
On climate, the President said his administration is strengthening domestic resource mobilisation as well as renewable energy initiatives, while on the governance front strides have been made in the capacitation of institutions that support democracy, good governance, and the rule of law.
The 2030 Agenda SDGs that was adopted by all UN member states in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.
At its heart are the 17 goals which are an urgent call for action by all countries — developed and developing — in a global partnership. They recognise that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth — all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.