Six in ten Zimbabweans have no access to electricity, a senior government official said on Tuesday, adding that it was not normal for such a large section of the population to live in darkness.
The Southern African country is experiencing some of its worst power cuts, some lasting up to 24 hours, and worsened by the routine maintenance at its two largest power plants.
Electricity shortages have been blamed for keeping away potential investors.
Partson Mbiriri, a senior official at the power ministry said a majority of Zimbabweans were still using traditional sources of energy like firewood for lighting and cooking.
“A recent survey … shows that of the 13.1 million in Zimbabwe about eight million or 60 percent have no access to electricity,” Mbiriri told delegates at the Clean Energy Week.
“We cannot continue to think that it is normal for the bulk of the population to continue using firewood, more so when our forests are dwindling.”
Power generation is currently around 1,000 megawatts, less than half its peak demand, forcing local industries to use costly diesel generators to keep operations running.