Achieve the SDGs through clean energies development in Zimbabwe.

Development Finance Impact Project – Digital Artifact

Financing for Development (FFD): Unlocking Investment Opportunities

Achieve the SDGs through clean energies development in Zimbabwe.


Target audience:
Government / Policy Makers / Colleagues / General public (awareness).

Some of current Zimbabwe´s problems:

Social and economic.

The Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite statistic of life expectancy, education, and per capita income indicators, which are used to rank countries into four tiers of human development.
Zimbabwe´s HDI was the lowest in the world in 2010 with a level of 0.140.6 However, there have been social reforms in recent years that have allowed notable growth in its HDI and according to the report of 2015 now has a level of 0.509 and occupies the position 155 Of 188 countries.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs states in its 2012–2013 planning document that the "humanitarian situation has improved in Zimbabwe since 2009, but conditions remain precarious for many people".


Large parts of Zimbabwe were once covered by forests with abundant wildlife. Deforestation and poaching has reduced the amount of wildlife forests, due to:
-           Population growth.
-           Urban expansion
-           Lack of fuel.
-           Local farmers have also been criticised by environmentalists for burning off vegetation to heat their tobacco barns.


-          Erosion and land degradation which diminish the amount of fertile soil. Besides of the environmental consequences, that will lead to diminishing the future options of the country to sustain a:
1.    Farming system to feed their population.
2.    Having a sustainable, viable and prosperous economy.
3.    Financial flow related to international aid joined to climate action.
4.    Erode international investor´s confidence.
5.    Profitable touristic development.
6.    Widening the DRM.
-           At the current rate of deforestation, Zimbabwe's natural woodland is expected to disappear by 2065.
Administrative divisions.
Images: Wikimedia commons.

Proposals to achieve UN SDGs:

Take policy and financial actions, trough blended and private finance in order to develop and sustain a green economy that will drive as collateral catalyst consequences to:
-          The development of the
o   Infrastructure sector.
o   IT sector.
-          The country´s human development.
-          The economic, social, human rights and job market strengthening.
-          Protect the country environmental diversity.
-          The social and economic viability of the country.
-          Give access to wide sectors of the population with great difficulties in order to get supply of basic ways of energy.
-          Industrial development as many industries in Zimbabwe suffer energy shortages that make them unable of evolving to more efficient industries.

 Based among others in the following performances:

A)   Develop a net of private and public solar panel systems, promoting the private use but most important a national solar plants grid in order to provide access to average population.

B)   Investing in the growing petrol blending market in order to promote its expansion, research and development.

Other related Sectors to develop in parallel.

C)  Promoting the internal IT market development, as a catalyst for small and medium businesses but also as support of the clean energy market.

D)  Developing and national development plant of infrastructures also related with the clean energy sector, and sustained through blended finance.


United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to consider as final goals of these policies:

As the final aim of these policies is creating a prosperous economy based in job creation and clean energies, it is clear that almost all SDGs are directly or indirectly related with these development proposals. Of course some of them are most related than others, but eventually all can be included. For instance, analyzing those which appear to be not so closely related:
-          Quality education can´t be achieved if average population and governments haven´t enough economic resources to implement it.
-          Clean water is related with environmental pollution and degradation, but also with investment in WASH infrastructures.

-          Reduced inequality; Through there are many examples across the world in which there is not a direct relation between economic growth social equity, economic growth is the base for social redistribution. Beside of this access to the job market is also the first step to get middle class within a country and eventually finish with poverty pockets and deprivation.

-          Gender equality: Of course there are many examples of rich countries where gender equality don´t exist at all, but jobs and economic development are also the base for women to be able of deciding about their future. Improving inclusive equalitarian quality education plus changes in cultural perception are others.

Basic proposals to implement in Zimbabwe and financing solutions related:

The A and B proposals, being the development of a national solar panel and petrol blending sectors respectively have similar objectives:

-          Give access to citizens unable to get a sustainable, clean and affordable way of energy.
-          Develop national, regional and local economies.
-          Create jobs.
-          Avoid deforestation.
-          Get access to international aid and investment through blended finance.
-          Develop tourism keeping clean forest areas.
-          Reduce dependency of non-national energy sources.

A)  Development of a strong national solar energy sector.

Zimbabwe is not a country where the solar energy has had a reasonably development during the last years, this is appalling as there are plenty of necessities within the population, but otherwise there is a lot of space to improve and develop a new energy sector.
-          Some of its nationals call Zimbabwe the land with no power.
-          The country is big and infrastructures are poor.
-          Solar energy can give affordable clean access to energy to wide groups of population in:
o   Far not well connected areas.
o   Main cities.
Owing to its geographic position the country has a high daily average solar insolation. Depending on the conversion efficiency of solar modules, 10-14% of this energy can be converted to electric power.
As in the case of Kenya during the 80´s and owing to its current fragile economy, Zimbabwe could opt to get financial aid from international donors, MDBs and NGOs to develop a market that could be changed gradually for private investment.

Previous experiences in Africa show how solar energy is most of the time a successful story as:
A) Growing solar panel market in Kenya.
-          Utilising solar resources in Kenya started in the 1870s, following government’s use of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems to operate broadcast installations (masts) in remote areas. In the 1980s, international donors and NGOs began to play a key role in the development of solar energy sector in Kenya to provide electric power to social services, such as school lighting, water pumping and vaccine refrigeration. However, donor support had gradually phased-out over the years; and since the 1990s the sector has been driven by the private sector. Despite this significant success was achieved in the commercial diffusion of battery-based solar home systems, driven by a desire for TV viewing of the rural community.

-          Today a vibrant private sector exists, particularly in the small-scale PV market9. It is estimated that over 320,000 rural households (4.4% of rural people in Kenya) have solar home systems as of 201010. Annually, it is estimated that 25,000-30,000 PV systems are sold in the market.

-          This means that as of 2015, assuming that each household has at least only one PV system, over 445, 000 to 470,000 PV systems have been installed in Kenya. Other reports put this figure even higher, considering the introduction of low-cost solar lanterns recently. Statistics indicate that solar PV lantern sales have reached to about 1,000,000 units in 2014. The total installed solar power capacity is estimated at 16MWp as of 2012 in which the vast majority is contributed by solar home systems installed at individual homes. Figures from the Energy Regularity commission (ERC) of Kenya show that the total installed capacity is likely to be over 20MWp as of January 2015. This is projected to grow at 15% annually. PV systems commercially distributed to rural areas of Kenya typically consist of 14 to 20Wp, wiring, rechargeable battery, sometimes a charge controller system, lighting systems, and connections to small appliances (such as a radio, television, or mobile phone charging units).

-          The spectacular market growth of solar home systems in Kenya is due to strong marketing efforts of the private sector with little (and often times no) support from the government. However, since 2005, the Government has shown increasing interest for solar energy by providing boarding schools and health facilities in remote areas access to electricity through PV panels. From 3000 institutions in remote areas, about 450 have been equipped with solar PV systems, 220 schools are electrified with stand-alone solar PV with a total capacity of 574.22 KWp at an estimated cost of 6.16 million Euros.

-          There are over 40 solar PV distributing private companies. There are a large number of solar technicians (estimated to be over 2000 in 2009.

B) The biggest world solar plant in Morocco.

-          Morocco’s Noor-Ouarzazate solar complex will generate enough electricity for more than a million people when completed. Photo: Abdeljalil Bounhar/Associated Press

-          When completed, the Noor-Ouarzazate station will be capable of generating enough electricity for more than a million people.

-          The first phase of a $9 billion solar-power project that has been under construction since 2013 has opened yet.

-          Funded by WB and AfDB among others. The AfDB is financing the first phase of the works, with EUR 168 million, from its own resources, in addition to a concessional loan of USD 100 million granted through the Clean Technology Fund (CTF), one of the AfDB-hosted Climate Investment Funds (CIF).

-          When it is finished in 2018, the Noor Solar Power station will cover more than 5,000 acres and have a generating capacity of 580 megawatts, enough to meet the electricity needs of 1.1 million Moroccans, according to the World Bank, which is helping to fund the project. It will be one of the largest solar power plants in the world, rivaling BHE Renewables Solar Star project in Southern California, which claims a capacity of 586 megawatts.

-          While many other utility-scale solar projects are based on photovoltaic technology, Noor uses concentrated solar power, or CSP, to turn sunlight into electricity. Curved mirrors concentrate the sun’s rays on pipes running down the middle of troughs, heating a synthetic oil inside. The hot fluid boils water, generating steam that turns a turbine to generate electricity. Excess heat from the fluid is then stored in molten salt, making it possible for the plant to continue generating electricity hours after the sun goes down.

C) Other experiences in MENA
Source: Wall Street Journal.

B)  Development of petrol blending  and biofuel production industry.

Zimbabwe introduced  mandatory  petrol  blending  in  2011.  By  2014,  the blended  petrol  grade  E15  was  available  on  the  market.  So basically the government is hallway in. The initial implementation based on clear needs some years ago, must be changed today and seen as a priority industry in order to get international finance and internal development.
The introduction of mandatory blending and the implementation of clear clean energy regulations are related with these facts.
-          Comes against the backdrop of fuel crises.
-          The need to promote local investments.
-          Move away from depending on fossil fuels and to find alternative fuels which are cheaper and cleaner.
-          Aim to reduce energy imports, lower energy price, reduce greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions, support infant domestic industries.
-          Most of these policies focus on bio-derived feedstock.

International experiences:

-          United States and Brazil specialises on ethanol production and the European Union (Biodiesel) are currently the major suppliers and the do drive demand for biofuels Polies have been crafted in the countries and they have contributed greatly to this rapid rise in demand.

-          Corn ethanol is the main renewable fuel in the United States which has enabled the United Sates to achieve its target alongside government support. This has seen production levels increasing five-fold: from approximately 5,000 million litres in 1991 to 25,000 million litres in 2007 .

-          Brazil has been called the world’s first sustainable biofuels economy due to its government supported production of ethanol from sugarcane and its embrace by the countrypopulation. Its regular petrol has an ethanol concentration of between 18-25(E18—E25).

-          Hong Kong’s Climate Change Strategy and Action Agenda Consultation Document (September 2010) recommends the adoption of a B10 blend and highlights the potential for using waste cooking oils in producing biodiesel locally.

-          Lux  Research report 2014 titled “planning  for the long term  in Asia Pacific alternative  fuel markets” highlights that  China and India are set to dominate Asia’s alternative fuel markets, driven   by challenging mandates.

-          Indonesia is targeting 20% adoption by 2025; while Malaysia positions itself to be a  dominant  exporter  with  143  million  gallons  a  years  in  2015.

-          The South African Department of Energy (DoE) has published its draft position paper on  the  South  African  Biofuels  Regulatory  Framework,  which  included  the  mandatory blending regulations and a pricing framework, in the Government Gazette for public to comment (DoE,  2014).

-          In Africa, Malawi is the only country that consistently implemented mandatory blending for transport since 1982 (UNDP, 2007). Car users in Malawi use a blend of the conventional fossil fuel and ethanol produced from molasses, the by-product of producing sugar from sugarcane.

Other related Sectors to develop in parallel.

C)  Developing and national development plant of infrastructures also related with the clean energy sector, and sustained through blended finance.

The blended petrol- Biofuels industry needs the development of infrastructures of transport among others, in order to connect farms, transformation centres and factories, selling and exportation points.
 This means that investment in biofuels development needs also to invest in transport infrastructures.
Beside of this, solar plants need energy transportation grids in order to move the energy generated, from solar plants to consumers.

D)  Promoting the internal IT market development as a catalyst for small and medium business, and also as support of the clean energy market.

IT markets have been shown in Africa some of those sectors which attract foreign investment without the need of development aid finance or public investment. They can collaborate in 2 ways:

A)    By increasing DRM by taxation to use in infrastructure or clean energy investments.

B)    The government can regulate an open data source coming from smart phones + GPS / internet access. This open data sources can provide the legislator information about :

o   Which are the more transited roads / transport systems that influx the economic development.
o   Which are related with industries, working or tourism.
o   How many of they need to be improved, widened and updated. 
o   What deficiencies exist in the public transport systems, endangering the economic and social development.
o   Which electric networks are failing and need to be enhanced.

Financing solutions that can unlock resources to develop these sectors.

Zimbabwe appears in the Harmonized List of Fragile Situations FY 17 a/. This means a/ ="Fragile Situations" have: either a) a harmonized average CPIA country rating of 3.2 or less. In the case of Zimbabwe 2.76 (Harmonized Average).
 This list includes only IDA eligible countries and non-member or inactive territories/countries without CPIA data.

Some data

As it can be seen, humanitarian assistance has fallen during the last years whilst ODA follow being an important source of financing.
Most of this ODA flows to public service provision + governance+ humanitarian aid.
Also can be seen the majority of donors are US, UK Global donors, EU institutions and some EU countries.
From this ODA almost 46% is aimed to develop infrastructures and services, programme assistance and production.
Consequently Zimbabwe could raise a bigger and more effective provision of development aid / assistance aimed to cope with development goals, coming from several sources:


We lived today in a world:
-          That is still recovering from the credit crunch in 2.008.
-          With debt-ridden developed countries trying to balance their budgets.
-          An international credit regulation imposed by Basel III that makes difficult to finance long term projects as those necessary for infrastructures.


Nevertheless UN has updated its MDGs coming from 2.000 for the new and more ambitious SDGs. These are not only related to LICs or developing countries, but are a change of financial philosophy in order to extend a sustainable economic and human development to the entire world. So we have peace, development and human rights as 3 supports of the same platform that must coexist and work together.
As we are all in the same ship, we must all work together in order to resolve not only human rights, jobs, prosperity, education, climate change and so on.
In financial terms this could be described in a phrase coined in several publications by UN: “Billions to Trillions to Action”. A quite much bigger amount of financial investment is needed across the world and this will be got following several guidelines.
A)    Use public resources + ODA + IDA + other types of aid to development as a catalyst factor in order to get a real and sustainable economic development, by being the first step to attract private investment by blended finance. So development projects should mix social and financial objectives.
B)    Prioritising investments and using the available resources with those that can get indirect flow / after project financing. This also includes cutting low priority spending.
C)   Increasing DRM (Domestic resources mobilization) in order to make governments extra funds, always in a fair egalitarian way.
D)    Using remittances (i.e. by national bonds).
E)    Improving public spending and management, including PM and M&E.
F)    Reducing illicit financial flows. And there are many tools for that, in an international and national environment.
G)   Reducing private investment risks.
H)    Informing and providing data and technical advice to support investors.
I)      Improving BER and business environment to promote investment.
J)     Promoting transparency.

As the proposals of development join social, economic, financial and climate change fight objectives. Many donors across the world would be able to support viable projects. 

Some financial players to participate in the proposed development programs.



MDBs role is supporting development goals, financing for development and provide technical assistance.

World Bank group:

WB has been a stable and most important donor during the last years in the country and work actively to develop human, social and economic development.

Beside of this its tendency now is to work providing technical advice to governments to improve the national business environment and get not only direct funds, but offering alternative ways of financing as private investment when it is possible.

Now the WBG prefers to finance projects that can be used as catalyst for private investment as previously explained.

African Development Bank (AfDB):

The overarching objective of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group is to spur sustainable economic development and social progress in its regional member countries (RMCs), thus contributing to poverty reduction.

The Bank Group achieves this objective by:
          Mobilizing and allocating resources for investment in RMCs; and

Providing policy advice and technical assistance to support development efforts.

Checking its last financed projects, it is easy to see how many of these are climate change / clean energies related.

Islamic Development Bank :

Related with Africa-MENA trade objectives.



International donors :

Countries as UK, US, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland etc, have a long tradition in supporting development countries and LICs  by international aid and cooperation.



Institutional investors:

Institutional investors as large pension and sovereign funds are looking to invest in new markets in order to diversify and improve low returns in more secure economies. The risk/return dichotomy leads many of these investments in new markets.

As all proposals are not only profitable but also interconnected with other alternative sectors as IT or tourism, private investors as these must support a change of model in Zimbabwe.


Private Philantropy:

In 2.017, private philanthropy supports a bigger part of the IDA and ODA that many could think. 

In many times they work with NGOs which project, develop and manage their aid on site. Of course they are also an agile actor to unlock needed investments when needed.



As explained, NGOs uses in many cases financial aid of third parts and are an important part to implement on site and work as link with donors.


National and international companies.

The main objective of these initial steps is always getting an auto sufficient dynamic country able to deal with its own needs by national and international public investments.

So national and international companies must participate in the development of these markets as soon as possible, as they root the seeds for the future stability.

Local companies can be supported with concessional loans or grants having in account the situation of the country.

Climate Finance:

 There are specific funds for climate change coming from the Framework Convention for Climate Change, so ODA can be combined with Bilateral Development Agencies provisions, Green Climate Funds, Climate Investment Funds (CIF) etc.


    1.   Concessional public finance: Grant assistance + taxes.

2.   Public debt: Better from public institutions than from the market.

3.   Private finance.

Financial management:

Zimbabwe appears in the Harmonized List of Fragile Situations FY 17 a. This means that as described, there are plenty of options to get financing for development.

Being a poor country, many of these flows could be received as grants or concessional loans for sectors of population unable to pay back traditional loans, i.e. a family wants to raise a business related in any way with climate change and so on. This small businesses are the base of the employment in the long run in every advanced economy.  

But the main focus must be always blended finance.

Those ways of financing are usual for IDA in MDBs or private philanthropy aid, among others.

For small / medium sized companies which cannot access to regular loans, guarantees could be a solution to improve and grow businesses. Equity instruments reducing the risk factor can be an option for some investors.

International private investment can be channelized by IMF and MDBs if the government create a transparent fair market as described previously.

Otherwise DRs plays a key role and the government must invest in its own growth by concessional public finance, raising DRM, fighting illicit financing flows, using quasy-equity instruments, using public debt efficiently, conditional cash transfers or obtaining funds from remittances by national bonds..etc.

Investments in infrastructures must follow the cascade effect philosophy and must act as catalyst for indirect flows and private investments to leverage as much resources as possible.

Juan Antonio Durán Blázquez.


-          Mandatory blending in Zimbabwe: Examining implementation challenges and contemporary issues. Chipo Mukonza.
-          Andt, C., Benefsca, T., Turp, F.,Thurlow, J & Usaene, R. (2008). Biofuels and poverty and growth a compatible general equilibrium analysis of Mozambique
-          Commission of the European Communities. (2009). Directive 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Promotion of the Use of Energy from Renewable Sources Amending and Subsequently Repealing Directives 2001/77/EC and 2003/30/EC. Brussels.
-          A desk assessment on the overviews of current solar and wind energy projects in Kenya
-          African Development Bank online site.
-          OCDE online site.
-          IDB online site.
-          EIB online site.
-          Global humanitarian assistance online site.
-          U.S. Agency for International Development.
-          Financing for Development (FFD): Unlocking Investment Opportunities. World Bank MOOC.
-          Greenpeace online site.
-          Wall Street Journal online site.
-          The Guardian online site.
-          And many more..

·         All images are free use CCC or CC0.

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