Zim man in African innovators top 50




Simbarashe Mhuriro

ZIMBABWEAN entrepreneur, Simbarashe Mhuriro, has been selected to exhibit his game changing solar innovations at the Africa Innovation Summit (AIS) set for next month in Rwanda.

The 32-year-old, is the founder and managing director of Oxygen Energy Private Limited, an independent power producer and renewable energy development company that specialises in utility scale power plants and commercial rooftop projects.

He will join the top 50 young African innovators to showcase home-grown solutions for Africa’s challenges at the AIS, a platform for multi-stakeholder dialogue and a catalyst for coalition and action towards building robust innovation ecosystems in Africa. About 600 innovators had submitted their applications to participate in the forum, organisers said.

This year’s summit will focus on innovation as a tool to address Africa’s pressing challenges and supporting solutions that are already examples of how Africa is addressing her challenges with new and innovative thinking.

AIS director Mr Olugbenga Adesida, said the platform will help create enthusiasm for active participation in building innovation driven societies in Africa.

“It is heart-warming to see so many Africans engaged in trying to find solutions to the pressing challenges facing the continent. The hope which we have is to build the AIS into a platform that will support innovators, refine the ideas and scale them up across Africa and the world. Also important, we need all Africans, especially those with the power to act, to actively engage in building innovation driven societies in Africa,” he said.

In 2016 Mr Mhuriro was named one of the 30 most promising young entrepreneurs in Africa. Last year, the African Development Bank (AfDB)-managed sustainable energy fund for Africa (SEFA) approved a $965 000 grant to Oxygen Energy Private Limited to support the preparation of a bankable business case for the development of a 20MW off-grid solar photovoltaic rooftop project on buildings owned and managed by Old Mutual Property Group. Once completed, the project will power 226 buildings in total, supporting hundreds of small- and medium-sized enterprises throughout Zimbabwe.

His solar innovation feeds into Government’s push to promote solar energy generation as a way of easing pressure on the national grid and also protecting the environment through green energies. Zimbabwe is set to increase renewable energy investments in line with the global climate change mitigation measures with a target of generating 1 000MW clean energy by 2025.

Given the reality of climate and its impact on economies and livelihoods in particular, global leaders are agreed that adoption of clean energy technology is an effective way of minimising negative effects.