The building sector is a very minimal contributor of emissions in Zimbabwe (around 1% over total GHG emissions in 2017, around 0.4 MtCO₂e), largely due to the interplay of informal, existing housing stock, slow urbanisation and the unmet demands for housing in cities.5 For this sector to play a positive role in keeping the country’s emissions low, electricity – produced by renewable resources – would have to play an ever-larger role in the sector even as the government seeks to increase housing supply.
Our analyses indicate that the share of electricity would need to increase from a low of 4% of the energy mix in this sector in 2019 to between 78-90% in 2050.
In 2020, the government reported that it had banned incandescent lights, removed duties on solar equipment, introduced prepaid meters for demand side electricity management and regulations to govern the installation of solar geysers.5
1 Ministry of Environment Climate Tourism and Hospitality Industry. Long-term Low Greenhouse Gas Emission Development Strategy (2020-2050). (2019).
2 Republic of Zimbabwe. Revised Nationally Determined Contribution. (2021).
3 Zimbabwe Power Company. Hwange Power Station – Zimbabwe Power Company.
4 Ministry of Environment Water and Climate. Zimbabwe’s Third National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. (2016).
5 Ministry of Environment Climate Tourism and Hospitality Industry. Zimbabwe’s First Biennial Update Report to the UNFCCC. (2020).
6 Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) 2021-2025. (2019).
7 UNDP. Bright days ahead as the National Energy Policy is unveiled in Zimbabwe. (2012).
8 Murwira, S. “No electricity for cooking”: Droughts in Zimbabwe cut the lights in poor households – climatetracker. Climate Tracker (2021).
9 Ministry of Energy and Power Development. National Renewable Energy Policy. (Ministry of Energy and Power Development, 2019).
10 South Africa’s Eskom supplies Zimbabwe with 400 megawatts of power | Africanews.
11 Ministry of Energy and Power Development. National Renewable Energy Policy. vol. 1 (2019).
12 WorldBank. Access to electricity (% of population) – Zimbabwe | Data. (2021).
13 IEA. Zimbabwe Country Profile. IEA – Countries & Regions. (2022).
14 See assumptions for the NDC quantification here: https://1p5ndc-pathways.climateanalytics.org/methodology/#zwe-ndc
15 Global cost-effective pathways assessed by the IPCC Special Report 1.5°C tend to include fossil fuel use well beyond the time at which these could be phased out, compared to what is understood from bottom-up approaches, and often rely on rather conservative assumptions in the development of renewable energy technologies. This tends to result in greater reliance on technological CDR than if a faster transition to renewables were achieved. The scenarios available at the time of this analysis focus particularly on BECCS as a net-negative emission technology, and our downscaling methods do not yet take national BECCS potentials into account.
Zimbabweʼs energy mix in the buildings sector
petajoule per year
- Natural gas
- Oil and e-fuels
Zimbabweʼs buildings sector direct CO₂ emissions (of energy demand)
- Historical emissions
- SSP1 Low CDR reliance
- SSP1 High CDR reliance
- Low energy demand
1.5°C compatible buildings sector benchmarks
Direct CO₂ emissions and shares of electricity, heat and biomass in the buildings final energy demand from illustrative 1.5°C pathways for Zimbabwe
Decarbonised buildings sector by
Direct CO₂ emissions
Share of electricity
30 to 37
47 to 76
78 to 90
Share of heat
0 to 1
1 to 8
Share of hydrogen