China forges ahead with infrastructure projects in Zimbabwe

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Harare (New Ziana) –China remains committed to completing several infrastructure projects it is funding in Zimbabwe, despite challenges posed by the current Covid-19 pandemic, an envoy has said.

Commenting on the progress made in the Hwange power plant expansion project, Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe Guo Shaochun said it remained on course despite setbacks caused by the pandemic.

The $1.5 billion project, being carried out by Chinese firm Sino Hydro, entails the addition of two power generating units, unit 7 and 8 to the existing 6 units that were commissioned between 1983 and 1987.

Upon completion, the new units will add 600 megawatts into the national grid.

“The Covid-19 cannot stop the pace of co-operation between China and Zimbabwe. With the completion of the (Hwange expansion) project, Zimbabwe’s power self-sufficiency capacity will be greatly improved which is exactly what a country needs for its development and what practical cooperation should mean,” Guo said.

Late last month, a team of over 200 Chinese experts arrived in Zimbabwe to accelerate implementation of the project.

“On October 31st 2020, 223 Chinese employees of Sino-Hydro arrived in Zimbabwe by charter flight. They will join into the construction site after quarantine in a bid to accelerate the progress of the project and recover as much the delay brought about by the Covid-19,” the Chinese company said.

Along with many others at various stages of implementation, the Hwange project is part of Zimbabwe’s efforts to find sustainable solutions to power shortages that are retarding industrial growth and bedeviling the economy at large.

Hwange Power Station is Zimbabwe’s largest coal-fired power generator with production capacity of 920 MW.

But because of old age, the plant’s current dependable capacity is around 600 megawatts.

In addition to the Kariba South Hydro-power Extension Project, which was completed in March 2018, the Hwange expansion project is expected to substantially add to the national power grid and lift the nation out of the current power shortages.

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