Zim not among least developed nations

HARARE – Zimbabwe is not considered a least developed country (LDC), according to a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

African Capacity Building Foundation’s knowledge expert, Barassou Diawara, said for a country not to be considered an LCD, its gross national income per capita must be $1 035 or more.

“There is also a human assets criterion, which involves indicators such as adult literacy ratios and secondary school enrolment,” said Diawara said at the launch of the 2017 LDC report by UNCTAD.

“The third criterion is of economic vulnerability due to varying shocks. For a country to be least developed, two or more of these have to be met and Zimbabwe does not”.

Forty-seven countries are in the LCD category, with 34 of them being from Africa.

They include Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, Lesotho, Bangladesh and Yemen.

The report notes that 82 percent of people living in rural areas do not have access to electricity.

In Zimbabwe’s case, 60 percent were without power.

Diawara said the goal of universal access to electricity by 2030 is mostly dependent on progress made in LDC.

According to the report, urbanisation is also proving to be a huge challenge to achieving universal access to power, as more urban dwellers go without electricity.

“Overall, achieving universal access in LD’s by 2030 would require grid extension to reach an estimated 571 million more people, mini grids to serve 341 million and standalone systems for 114 million.

“Mini-grids are thus likely to play a key role in rural electrification in LDCs for which there are favourable historical precedents in India and China,” reads part of the report.

Former Energy minister Samuel Undenge, pictured, is on record saying the six percent electrification levy that the Rural Electrification Fund gets through electricity sales and fiscal allocation by government is not adequate to accelerate or sustain the programme.