BUSINESSMAN and philanthropist, Strive Masiyiwa has, through the “Re-Imagine Rural” initiative, completed a 100 killowatt (KW) solar power project at Ndolwane, Bulilima district, near Plumtree town in Matabeleland South.
BY SILAS NKALA
Masiyiwa revealed the development on his Facebook page.
“There is a place in rural Zimbabwe called Ndolwane. It is in a part of the country known as Matabeleland. We chose it as the first site of our Re-Imagine Rural Ugesi Mini-grids,” Masiyiwa wrote.
“We built a 100KW solar power plant at its small business centre. It now provides power to 70 small businesses, residents and other activities. Some are using the power to irrigate market gardens to sell vegetables.”
He said they were expanding the powerline grid to reach a 10km radius.
“We have just bought our own water drilling rig and as soon as it arrives we plan to drill deep well boreholes in places like Ndolwane, where it is dry. It will help communities with market gardening and water for their cattle,” Masiyiwa posted.
He said, through the programme, they were constructing 10 other sites around the country.
Bulilima West legislator Dingumuzi Phuti (Zanu PF) yesterday confirmed the project completion.
“It’s an exciting project and a first of its kind and an Econet pilot project in their vision of doing many such across the country. People are so excited and businesses are connected. It facilitates the completion of Ndolwane being modernised to a proper service centre which should have modern houses and modern planning like any other town,” Phuti said.
“Now this electricity programme that has been put is going to assist that Ndolwane Rural Hospital be upgraded to a proper district hospital because the infrastructure is there. Now that there is electricity, it enhances.”
He also said the solar project would also assist water abstraction from the river to the hospital and other projects around Ndolwane.