Four more years of blackouts

via Four more years of blackouts – DailyNews Live by Bryn Gumbo and Fungi Kwaramba  12 NOVEMBER 2013 

Zimbabweans should brace for four more years of power blackouts as normal electricity supplies are only expected in 2018 after the completion of the Kariba South Hydro Extension project funded by China’s Exim Bank.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa and Exim Bank vice president, Zhu Hongjie signed a $355 million deal yesterday in which the government, through Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), will supplement 10 percent towards the construction of two power generating units with a capacity to generate 300 megawatts.

The preferential loan agreement has a two percent interest rate per annum with a grace period of five years and repayment period of 20 years.

ZPC is currently producing 1 200 megawatts against a projected energy demand of 2 200 megawatts (MW) per day.

“We all agree that energy is a key enabler in any economy,” Chinamasa said.

“Without reliable energy supplies, our economic turnaround efforts will not bear fruit.For Zimbabwe, this has hamstrung efforts to revive our underperforming economy.”

Load shedding has not spared the few operating industries and many are now relying on power generators.

With the region suffering power shortages, Chinamasa said the solution to the country’s electricity woes lies in the construction of new power plants.

Zimbabwe is however, keen on improving power generation with the other major source of power Hwange Power Station going through a refurbishment worth millions of dollars.

The expansion project will see the thermal station having two additional units each producing 300 megawatts of power but there is no time frame for the completion of the project which again will involve Chinese contractors.

Analysts say improving power generation will jump-start the country’s economy which is showing signs of distress.

“Excessive load-shedding will render local industry uncompetitive as companies will be forced to look for alternative energy sources and this increases the cost of doing business in the country,” said Kipson Gundani, the chief economist for the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC).

Gundani noted that government must open up the sector to private players — both local and international — who have enough resources to set up electricity plants in the country.

Over the last two years, Zimbabwe has licensed 12 independent power producers but their contribution to the national grid is yet to be felt.

“I don’t see any industrial revival without adequate power supplies,” Gundani said.

Economist John Robertson said if the power situation does not improve soon, industrial capacity will continue to deteriorate.

“Electricity generation is a capital intensive sector and with the liquidity situation in the country, we cannot do it alone because we don’t have the resources,” he said.



  • comment-avatar
    Rugare 9 years ago

    So failures for the next five years will now be blamed on power which will be fixed in 2018? Is there something ominous about the timing???????????????????????

  • comment-avatar
    Shebah 9 years ago

    Very true.
    Research has shown that Zimbabwe experience a 95% sunshine availability per year and is very suitable for the adoption solar energy. Countries like Japan who dont enjoy the level of sunshine but are investing in solar energy as a possible alternative to power supply. If we are to come up with a financing model for each house hold to have about 7kw panels in towns then our load shedding problems will not take five years and the cost would not be close to the 350 millionl.

  • comment-avatar
    Angel 9 years ago

    IF you had money, a lot of money, would YOU invest YOUR money in Zim ? You don’t have to say lies as always. NO YOU WOULDN’T.

    Two main risk sources need be considered when investing in a foreign country:

    Economic risk: This risk refers to a country’s ability to pay back its debts. A country with stable finances and a stronger economy should provide more reliable investments than a country with weaker finances or an unsound economy.
    Political risk: This risk refers to the political decisions made within a country that might result in an unanticipated loss to investors. While economic risk is often referred to as a country’s ability to pay back its debts, political risk is sometimes referred to as the willingness of a country to pay debts or maintain a hospitable climate for outside investment. Even if a country’s economy is strong, if the political climate is unfriendly (or becomes unfriendly) to outside investors, the country may not be a good candidate for investment.However, for the average investor, navigating the international markets can be a difficult task that can be fraught with challenges. By understanding some of the main risks and barriers.

  • comment-avatar
    Rwendo 9 years ago

    You have to hand it to the Chinese. First they protect their investments and interests by funding rigging through Anjin. That covers the politico-legal risk side. Then they move on to operations side. All these mining operations they are setting up (not just diamonds) are dependent on electricity supply. Ask any major mining operation. They are certainly planning for the long haul.

  • comment-avatar
    Tjingababili 9 years ago