South Africa province plans 2,000-MW Umzimvubu River dam

South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province launched a public-private investment initiative May 20 that includes construction of a 2,000-MW hydroelectric project on the Umzimvubu River.

East Cape Premier Nosimo Balindlela said the investment program aims for 60 billion rands (US$8.50 billion) worth of projects, including the dam and an irrigation scheme in the former Transkei state.

“Centered on the former Transkei and South Africa’s largest undammed river, the Umzimvubu, the economic development initiative is aimed at generating investment into the region of 60 billion rand in the next 10 years,” a statement said.

The agriculture projects would include forestry and other crops such as rapeseed to produce biodiesel.

“The forestry project aims to cover 100,000 hectares, creating tens of thousands of jobs locally,” the statement said.

The projects are under the umbrella of the national government’s Asgisa initiative to lift annual growth to at least 6 percent by 2010.

A company named Asgisa (Eastern Cape) Pty Ltd. has been created to lead the provincial initiative, the statement added. The company will be chaired by prominent black businessman Saki Macozoma, a board member of South Africa’s Standard Bank.

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