According to the ZBC Finealt Engineering, a company that is owned by the Ministry of Finance will get a much needed $20 million US dollar loan next year. This will allow the Jatropha company to start commercialising the production of bio-diesel. The loan is being provided by IRENA-International Renewable Energy Agency.

This was all revealed by Ishmael Machiya, the CEO of the company before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Energy and Power Development:

In 2020, we are going to get US$12 million concessionary funds for jatropha production. Government has already given us the guarantee letter from IRENA and it will come at an interest rate of one percent over a period of 25years.

The jatropha money pit

Last year the government revived the jatropha biodiesel project amidst fuel shortages. The project was one of the former RBZ governor Gideon Gono’s many Quasi-fiscal pet projects. The project sucked billions of dollars (could be trillions) with little to show for it.

The $3 million US dollar project was too small according to the current governor, John Mangudya. Hurdles still remain, such as the production of actual enough plants to start commercial production of the necessary crops, this loan will help with that, then there is the actual commercial process of producing diesel.