Energy Diversification powering the economy

Zambiaʼs primary export being copper, the country is vulnerable to fluctuations in world commodity prices. The Ministry of Mines, Energy, and Water Development sees diversifi cation as key to the countryʼs continued development. As Minister of Mines, Energy, and Water Honourable Chris Yaluma looks towards Zambiaʼs future prosperity from its natural resources. “Of course we have the largest deposits of copper in the continent, this does not mean it should be our sole focus in terms of mining and processing. With investment in mining diversifi cation, the eff ect copper price fluctuations have on Zambiaʼs economy can be mitigated,” says Minister Yaluma.

Honourable Chris Yaluma
Honourable Chris Yaluma

The ministry of mines, energy, and Water Development has focussed on extraction of other precious minerals, including gold, iron, zinc, silver, and emeralds. “We have seen promising developments in emerald mining in recent years. With new policies in place to ensure continuous profit and benefits to the Zambian economy through emeralds, Zambia is open to ethical and innovative entities interested in emerald mining.”

One cannot speak of mining in Zambia however, without understanding the energy infrastructure to support it. With the mining sector accounting for 50% of energy consumption in Zambia with a consistently increasing consumer demand, energy provision must be strengthened.

“With Zambia possessing over 40% of the sub-regions above ground water supply, significant milestones have been achieved in harnessing energy capacity,” explains Minister Yaluma. Currently, the country’s energy supplies come from hydroelectricity (over 99%). As Zambia explores new ways to provide power in the face of increased demand, there are arrangements to diversify into geothermal, fossil fuel, and solar energy.

The demand for energy in Zambia is continually increasing, there was an increase in demand from 1,100 MW to 1,600 MW in just 8 years. The need for increased capacity comes as a result of the economic growth witnessed in all sectors of the economy. several projects are close to completion such as the Kariba River Dam and Itezhi-Tezhi that will go far in reducing the current electricity supply shortage. “our resources and location give Zambia the ability to be a power hub for the region.” minister Yaluma continues, “We will ensure this growth by diversification and investment by partners from around the globe.”

Minister Yaluma stresses the value of strategic international partnerships to strengthen Zambia’s generation capacity and expertise. With feasibility studies underway, there is a need for Foreign Direct investment to harness the power that Zambia is in an excellent position to distribute throughout the saDC region, an eventually, throughout all of Africa.