Zimbabwe is an interesting and intriguing place where, despite the tough economic climate, young entrepreneurs continue to rise and continue to solve some of the hardest problems the country, and even the continent, is facing.
Such is the case of 32 year-old Simbarashe Mhuriro, who is building the largest solar company in Zimbabwe. He decided to venture into the renewable energy arena, and he has done exceptionally and remarkably well. He is the founder and Managing Director of Oxygen Energy Private Limited. Oxygen Energy is an independent power producer and renewable energy development company that specialises in utility scale power plants and commercial rooftop projects.
Simbarashe Mhuriro's incredible journey has been very extraordinary. He recently spoke to Forbes chronicling the multi-million dollar plans of Oxygen Energy. Mhuriro expressed that his desire is to build a home-grown Zimbabwean renewable energy company that will build significant market shares in its field. So much is his burning zeal and passion that he hopes his company will one day be listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.
In ensuring that his plans come to fruition with the desired impact, Oxygen Energy is going to partner with Old Mutual Zimbabwe on a 20MW commercial rooftop solar project spread across its entire property portfolio of commercial and industrial buildings at a cost of $28 million dollars. Mhuriro is optimistic that this ground-breaking project will save Zimbabwe up to $4.5 million in import substitutions of power per year.
Entrepreneurs who have an insatiable hunger for success have the ability to forge good and solid partnerships that yield into substantial results. Simbarashe Mhuriro's project is now close to implementation and he has enlisted the help of Jabil Energy, a subsidiary of Jabil Inc USA and Soventix GMBH Germany as the engineering and construction partners to the project.
The project has received considerable support from within Zimbabwe, with the major support coming from the Ministry of Energy & Power Development, National Project Status from The Ministry of Finance & Economic Development. Mhuriro holds a strong belief that renewable energy has the opportunity to attract foreign FDI or if locally funded substitute the importation of power and the economy cannot grow without reliable sustainable power. According to him, there is an opportunity for young men and women to participate right across the value chain of a project from financial & legal advisory, procurement, engineering and construction.
Mhuriro also had the chance to speak with Russia's leader Vladmir Putin. He was invited to make an address on African Energy access at the opening ceremony of the 19th edition of the World Festival of Youth & Students organized by the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY), a United Nations-recognized international youth non-governmental organization, jointly with the International Union of Students since 1947 and is the largest gathering of youth and students in the world.
Mhuriro's bold plans are an attestation of the sheer determination exuded by the young entrepreneurs rising in Africa who are deeply committed to developing the continent. With how the population of Africa is surging, renewable energy will become more and more important than ever before.