Zimbabwe postpones R12.3bn project with China, braces for power cuts

2014-10-03 14:27

Zimbabwe indefinitely postponed signing an agreement for a $1.1 billion (about R12.3 billion) electricity project with China as it braced for more power cuts.

“We have some loose ends to tie up before we put pen to paper,” a Zimbabwe Power Corporation official said today.

The corporation had been due to sign the deal with Chinese engineering and construction contractor Sinohydro but gave no reason for postponing the agreement, nor did it say when another signing would take place.

The project, slated for the northwestern Hwange power station, was due to add 600 megawatts to Zimbabwe’s power grid and help the southern African country battle blackouts that can affect some areas for days.

National power utility Zesa said today that power cuts had increased due to “forced generator outages and equipment failure,” particularly at the Hwange power station.

Zimbabwe has experienced power cuts for two decades as its equipment becomes obsolete and it fails to raise money to import electricity.

Last month, President Robert Mugabe visited China, where he clinched the deal with Sinohydro.

Zimbabwe has nurtured its connection with China after relations with the West soured over Mugabe’s alleged human rights abuses and repression of the political opposition.

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