Zimbabwe’s future power demand presents huge opportunities: official

HARARE (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe will require 11,000 megawatts of electricity to achieve its vision of becoming a middle income country by 2030, an official said Saturday.

Zimbabwe and neighbouring Zambia heavily rely on hydro-electric power from Kariba Dam, but residents within walking distance from the dam are singing the blues

Ministry of Energy official Benson Munyaradzi said the huge demand for power presents vast opportunities for China to further invest in Zimbabwe’s energy sector.

He was speaking at the two-day international conference on China’s Belt and Road Initiative organized by the University of Zimbabwe in conjunction with the Confucius Institute. The conference ends Saturday.

Munyaradzi said with Zimbabwe’s current installed capacity standing at 2,000 MW, it means that 9,000 MW more of installed capacity was required for Zimbabwe to become a middle income economy by 2030.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has spelled out the vision as he seeks to propel Zimbabwe’s growth after two decades of economic stagnancy.

The Chinese government is already bankrolling power expansion projects in Zimbabwe.

It completed the 300 MW Kariba South Hydro Power expansion project in March this year at a total cost of 533 million U.S. dollars.

In June, Sinohydro, the same firm that undertook the Kariba project, began the expansion by a further 670 MW of the coal-fired Hwange Power station.

The project will cost 1.5 billion dollars and is expected to be completed in mid 2022.

In total, China’s power expansion projects, when completed, will add 960 MW into Zimbabwe’s national power grid.

Currently, the county is generating 1,200 MW against demand of 1,600 MW.

It is plugging the shortfall through imports from neighboring South Africa and Mozambique.

Munyaradzi contended that since power projects take longer to be completed, Zimbabwe will in the interim have to import more electricity from the region to meet its 2030 vision while it builds its internal power capacity.

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