via Italy eyes Zim energy sector – NewsDay Zimbabwe July 24, 2015 by Tatira Zwinoira
Italy will invest in Zimbabwe’s solar energy sector as it can reach the lower base of society, a senior official from the European country said on Wednesday.
Secretary of State for Renewable Energy Sector, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Mario Giro told journalists that there was room to invest in the renewable energy sector.
He is the highest-ranking Italian official to visit the country in 16 years due to the thawing of relations between Harare and the European Union bloc.
“In the renewable energy sector, particularly solar panels, we are trying to foster this sector because it is also a sector that can reach the people at the very base of society,” Giro said.
“We need to improve the energy sector in order to improve the economy not only for big works, but to also address the needs of the population.”
He said the Italian government was expected to help grow the solar energy sector in the country through a company specialising in renewable energy particularly in solar panels.
Giro said this was a way the Italian government would help the country to address climate change and deal with ecological problems which will lessen the negative effects on crops.
The visit comes as the Italian government seeks to increase its investment into the country particularly in infrastructure.
“What is very important is the sector of energy, without energy nothing can be done. We need more co-operation, trade, and new investments,” Giro said.
“It is necessary to open the path for the companies starting with the institutional visit.”
Italian ambassador to Zimbabwe Enrico De Agostini said the Italian government hoped to identify the sectors that could sustain the growth of Zimbabwe.
Giro said Italy “never stopped our relations, we never disengaged, but with the entire internal political crisis, considering the fact that Italy is involved with the European Union, there were some prudent aspects”.
Giro said that the backbone of the Italian economy was small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and was a model that could be brought into the country but on condition that there was a spirit of entrepreneurship.
“It is not something that you can do, but is something that you have to learn and we have this experience coming from the grassroots and it is a way to foster the economy for development,” he said.
Giro met officials from the Foreign Affairs ministry.