Simbarashe Mhuriro is the founder and managing director of Oxygen Africa, a Zimbabwean renewable energy development company focused on commercial and industrial rooftop solar photovoltaic projects. 

Oxygen Africa is currently developing a 50MW rooftop solar project with Old Mutual Property Zimbabwe, the largest property investment managers in Zimbabwe, as well as a second with Minerva Risk Advisors, a leading provider of risk management services, insurance and reinsurance brokerage and employee benefits consulting company in Zimbabwe.

His drive is centred around “profit with a purpose”, which is the opportunity to make money through predictable long-term returns, in the same breath changing lives and ensuring a sustainable future for Africa by mitigating climate change (SDG13) through clean energy (SDG7). 

He anticipates that the CO2 emissions avoided by the project will be 30 000 tonnes/year. Oxygen Africa will also save Zimbabwe up to $4.5 million annually in import substitutions of power.

Inforgraphic by TYI

Over time, Mhuriro has learnt to recover quickly from setbacks. “Not everybody wants to see you succeed but never seek out war though you should always be prepared for it,” he said.

Mhuriro’s story started in 2014 when he lost his first business. He decided to start again; with his last $5 he travelled to Harare, the capital city, from Marondera, a small town 80km east.

On arrival, he walked to the Old Mutual headquarters in Emerald Hill to pitch a 3.2MW project that has scaled up to 20MW over two years. With donations from friends, he managed to travel to South Africa to meet potential funders.

The results of that trip were that Barclays ABSA designed and drafted the Oxygen Africa profile that is used to date.