The Paris Agreement on climate change was signed by 196 nations in 2015.
The action is a stark recognition that all members of the global community must come together to stave off the potentially catastrophic effects of global warming being driven by our planet’s carbon-based industrial economy. The goal of the Paris Agreement is to achieve net-zero emissions by the year 2050.
The Sub-Saharan nation of Zambia is a signatory to the Paris Agreement.
Clever Mpoha, the founder and CEO of Savenda Group, one of Zambia’s largest multinational corporations, said his company has embraced sustainability in a major way and is ready to meet the challenge. Savenda is deeply committed to working toward a carbon-neutral and environmentally stable future.
Mpoha said his landlocked homeland centrally located on the African continent comes into the race against climate change with a number of advantages – but also some significant challenges.
Savenda is determined to meet those challenges and provide practical solutions in an array of sectors, from energy production, power-use infrastructure and the solarisation of Zambian farming practices.
As for the current Zambian advantages in terms of energy production:
This Sub-Saharan nation is fortunate to be abundantly endowed with natural water resources. It is the home of the magnificent Victoria Falls which, when measured by width (1,708 meters) and height (108 meters), is the largest sheet of falling water in the world.
But Zambia’s true decisive resource is its rivers. Zambia currently maintains five large power stations. Four of them are carbon-neutral hydroelectric plants. The four damns and one thermal plant supply an installed capacity of 2,396 MW for a total output of 14,543GWh.
As of 2014, 91.2% of that comes from net-zero hydropower. That makes Zambia the 31st largest generator of hydropower per capita, but when ranked by percentage, Zambia is No. 1 for clean-green water-driven electricity among emerging nations.
However, officials with Savenda Group say the nation’s dependence on hydropower is facing a severe challenge due to unprecedented levels of drought. Rainfall amount began dropping off significantly in the early 1990s and the trend has continued to the present day. It’s yet another example of how global climate change is wreaking havoc in wholly unpredicted ways.
Savenda CEO Mpoha said the reduction in Zambia’s diminishing hydropower capacity has produced a greater urgency to bring forward energy-saving technologies and solutions.
To that end, Savenda recently entered the lightbulb sector as a primary initiative. Under the auspices of a new subsidiary, Savenda Electric Company, the firm has ramped up the production of super-efficient LED bulbs. They’re currently manufactured in 7-watt, 9-watt and 12-watt models. They bear an extremely efficient 25,000 lifespan, come in both pin and screw variety and are made with anti-fire plastics.
In addition to bulbs, Savenda Electric is producing fluorescent tubes, ceiling lights, downlights (recessed lights), solar streetlights and outdoor fittings.
Savenda energy-efficient bulbs quickly met with enthusiastic response from Zambian consumers who were both eager to lower their energy bills and gain the good feeling of doing their part to counter climate change.
Mpoha said the example of Savenda Electric bulbs proves the concept that transforming the global economy from fossil-fuel-based to sustainable models is a job creator and stimulant to the overall economy. Going green is not necessarily the expensive drag that many naysayers contend it will be.
“Our LED energy-saving bulbs, solar lights and fluorescent tubes are facing increasing demand and that will continue. This gives our company a chance to build the next level of energy support system for Zambia.”
“We don’t just want to end at the production of energy-efficient bulbs. We see tremendous potential in solar energy … solar energy is sustainable. We have the land space to establish farms with massive numbers of solar panels. If we pursue our investments in solar correctly, we believe Savenda can become an energy powerhouse for Zambia, and more importantly, continue to the energy efficiency of our country.”
Mpoha, who grew up in a small farming village, said he sees striking similarities between the energy sector and farming. It’s a long-term venture, he said. It requires significant investment before profitable returns can be realised. But he added:
“Once the sustainable energy business starts to make money, we believe it can do nothing less than save nations for the future of our children and, yes, make money for Savenda.”
Indeed, Savenda Electric is moving forward aggressively with new projects. It recently invested $1 million USD to build an automated electricity meter assembly plant in the Zambian capital of Lusaka.
The initial installed production capacity calls for the manufacture of 125,000 units annually. Savenda is partnering with Electronic Distance Meter Instrument (EDMI), the globally renowned energy-tech company based in Japan. EDMI transferred the operation of its manufacturing facilities to Savenda in early August.
The new meter assembly plant is yet another jobs creator for Zambia. The Lusaka plant employs nearly 50 Zambians now and is expected to have 150 full-time workers by the end of 2021. None of these jobs are filled by foreign workers.
It’s also a win for climate change. The smart meters that Savenda Electric now manufactures make energy management more efficient. It lowers utility bills for homeowners and commercial buildings while also reducing the overall amount of energy used.
Mpoha said to expect much more from Savenda Group as it helps Zambia and the world meet the international goal of a net-zero emission future within 30 years.