China Exim invests in Kariba hydropower project upgrades

The Export-Import Bank of China has lent Zimbabwe US$319 million to help pay for an expansion of the 750-MW Kariba hydroelectric project.

The agreement, signed by Zimbabwe Minister of Finance Patrick Chinamasa and China Exim vice president Zhu Hongjie, will allow for the addition of two 150 MW generator units over a four-year period.

The loan will carry an annual interest of 2% and has a 20-year repayment period, the bank said.

The Kariba expansion project is meant to help alleviate the country’s power outages, which, according to Chinamasa, have “hamstrung the growth of our economy.”

Data shows the country’s cumulative capacity is about 1,200 MW, leaving a 1,000 MW deficit between Zimbabwe’s available supply and its peak demand.

HydroWorld.com reported in December 2012 that the Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) had signed a $400 million agreement with China’s Sino Hydro Corporation to perform the work.

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