Landmark Project Launched to Promote Renewable Energy Technology Transfer from China to Zambia

Sep 23, 2014

Rural dwellers in Zambia's Chama District listening to radio news, using solar energy. Photo: Moses Zangar, Jr./UNDP Zambia

A project to promote the transfer of renewable energy technology from China to Zambia was launched at a brief ceremony held in Lusaka on Monday, 22 September 2014. The project agreement was brokered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 

The partnership is under the project ‘China-Zambia South-South Co-operation on Renewable Energy Technology Transfer.’ 

Its objective is to ensure that Chinese renewable energy technologies are optimally responding to priorities and needs in Zambia, and critical skills are also transferred and developed to make the technologies actually work on the ground. This approach will have a tremendous impact on increasing access to energy for the rural poor in Zambia. 

The project will help with achieving the objective of Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) of the UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-Moon by increasing access to energy through off-grid and community-based electrification. Support will not be in the form of hardware transfer but instead will focus on creating conditions required to make the adoption of renewable energy technologies more effective, removing barriers and strengthening local capacities to respond to national priorities and meet local needs.  

The current initiative is a partnership between the Department of Energy in Zambia, the Ministry of Science and Technology in China and the UNDP Country Offices in Zambia and China. The partnership seeks to increase the share of renewable energy and promote the productive uses of energy - thereby indirectly supporting other socio-economic and environmental objectives, most notably poverty reduction through employment generation and supporting action on climate change mitigation and adaptation. 

The four-year project, funded by the Government of Denmark at US$2.63 million is a key component of UNDP’s support to the implementation of Zambia’s Sustainable Energy For All. 

“The overall objective of the project we are launching today is to improve energy access and living conditions in rural Zambia. There will be a specific focus on off-grid solutions for those communities located far from the power grid. This spotlight on rural electrification is specifically intended to address the part of the Zambian population that is missing out on development opportunities and to enhance their livelihoods and quality of life through the provision of clean, sustainably-produced electricity,” says Janet Rogan, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Zambia.  

The project, which focuses on technologies such as solar and wind for irrigation, biogas, mini-hydro and improved cook stoves, will have private sector development as its centerpiece. 

“People are using dirty and unhealthy sources of energy every day yet Zambia has the second largest potential for clean solar power in the world, and also has an abundance of rivers and water resources in the rural areas, with enormous potential for clean hydro power.  Both are currently virtually unused,” Rogan said. 

The initiative is one of the first examples of triangular South-South co-operation between China and Africa with support from a donor.

“As a government we welcome this collaboration for a number of reasons. First, this four-year project, in its execution will ensure that the identified barriers and challenges in the development of renewable energy technologies in Zambia are addressed through policy and fiscal interventions. Secondly, the project will result in the construction a micro-hydro power station which will showcase the practical use of renew able energy sources as a solution to increased access to electricity for rural communities,” says Ms. Charity C. Mwansa, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water Development. 

The partnership includes Ghana as the second African country working with China through UNDP, around the promotion of the UN’s initiative ‘Sustainable Energy for All,’ which was made possible by a funding from the Government of Denmark. 

The launch ceremony of the Zambia-China South-South Renewable Energy Technology Transfer project was attended by a senior government official and representatives from Zambia’s Energy Regulation Board, the Rural Electrification Authority, the University of Zambia, UNDP and the Chinese Embassy in Zambia.

Contact information

Moses Zangar, Jr.

Communications Officer, UNDP Zambia
Cell: +260 967 605 747

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