ENERGY remains a key enabler for social and economic development, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA IN HWANGE
Mnangagwa was speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony for the expansion of Hwange Thermal Power Station yesterday.
“The supply of adequate power is a prerequisite for economic growth and sustainable socio-economic development of any nation.
“As a key enabler, energy drives economic development by facilitating the delivery of basic amenities such as clean water, health shelter and education, among others, to the country’s citizenry,” he said.
“Zimbabwe presently requires substantial investment in the energy sector to meet the cumulative demand for power. According to foreign partner Sino-Hydro, the project will cost $1,5 billion and will produce 600 megawatts (MW) of electricity.”
Zimbabwe has a 400MW deficit of power supply at peak periods, given a generation capacity of 1 200MW against the 1 600MW daily peak requirement.
Chinese power company Sino-Hydro will hold 34% equity in the venture, with Zesa Holdings taking up the majority funded by local banks, according to Mnangagwa.
Sino-Hydro managing director Liang Jun said the project should be complete in the next three-and-a-half years.
“This project will take 42 months and on completion, will consist of 82 generation units. This is Zimbabwe’s biggest energy project since independence,” Jun said.
Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe Huang Ping said the project would create 3 000 direct jobs and 4 000 more downstream.
He revealed that the Chinese government had unlocked the financing of the project following Mnangagwa’s visit to China in April.
“We are indebted to an important political decision taken by Chinese President Xing Jinping who delinked this project from existing debt and the elevation of the relations between the two countries to the level of comprehensive strategic partnership,” Ping said.
Mnangagwa said the new project would reduce Zimbabwe’s power import bill, which he said “reduces the country’s regional economic competitiveness.”
The President said the project would come with a gas cleansing facility that uses limestone to treat emissions in line with global standards, which will also improve job creation.