Chinese firm bails out Zim

Source: Chinese firm bails out Zim – DailyNews Live January 12, 2017

Farayi Machamire

HARARE – Chinese hydropower engineering and construction company, Sino
Hydro, has pledged to help Zimbabwe’s cash-strapped government to secure
funding for its Hwange Thermal Power Expansion Project.

The company’s vice president Wang Jian said Sino Hydro, as push for
financial closure, will invest $176 million as the project’s equity to
reduce capital shortage pressure on the Zimbabwean government.

“A related investment agreement is under negotiation. We hope we can start
this project in the first half of the year. Once the project is complete,
600 megawatts capacity in total will be added to the grid,” he said on

This comes as the country has been struggling to secure financial closure
with Chinese banks to bankroll the $1,4 billion 600MW Hwange expansion

Energy permanent secretary Patson Mbiriri had in August last year said
government was hoping to reach financial closure by October 2016.

Hwange expansion project is part of the ZimAsset government programme to
increase power supplies and energy security.

The project is among a host of other ventures between Sino Hydro and
government that include Kariba South Extension Project and the Harare
water supply project phase 1.

The three projects are all currently at the financing stage with the
Chinese firm expected to expand Kariba South Hydro Power Station by 300MW.

Jian noted that the Kariba South Extension Project has been progressing
well since its official commencement in November 2014.

“To date, 75 percent civil works and 30 percent mechanical installation
works of the project have been completed. The first unit will start to
generate power at the end of 2017.

“The second unit will start to generate power in March 2018. At that
moment, it will increase another 300MW capacity to the national grid,” he

The Sino Hydro deputy chief said the Kariba project had created social
benefits by providing more than 1 500 jobs.

He added that with the support of the Chinese and Zimbabwe government, the
global player in construction, energy and transport was ready to make
concerted efforts to change the current power shortages.

Zimbabwe’s current power supply shortages have forced power utility Zesa
Holdings to resort to power imports as mitigation measures to close the
gap between supply and demand.

Zimbabwe’s power predicament has been worsened by aging and temporary
hydro constraints on local power supply options, largely dominated by
Zimbabwe Power Company’s plants namely Kariba South Hydro Power Station,
Hwange Thermal Power Station and small thermals in Harare, Bulawayo and

The country’s power plants generate about 1 100 MW against a peak demand
of 2 200 MW.