Zimbabwe Power Utility Secures 1.2 Billion Dollars Loan From China

Hwange-Thermal-Power-Plant

The Export-Import Bank of China will provide a $1.2 billion loan to upgrade two generators at Zimbabwe Power Co.’s Hwange thermal power plant, the country’s biggest.

ZPC, a unit of state-owned power utility ZESA Holdings Pvt Ltd, has raised concerns that decisions by the State Procurement Board have been snarled by bureaucracy, delaying tenders for the replacement of aging equipment at Hwange in the country’s west. Daily power blackouts due to electricity shortages have hurt mines and businesses.

Government officials agreed to the deal, ZESA Managing Director Noah Gwariro said by phone on Monday from the capital, Harare. He didn’t have further details about the loan terms.

Hwange generates between 380 megawatts and 400 megawatts of electricity against its installed capacity of 920 megawatts. The country’s next largest generation facility is the ZESA-operated Kariba hydropower plant in northern Zimbabwe, which is operating at half of its 750 megawatts capability because water levels in the dam have fallen amid a drought.

ZESA’s Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission Distribution Co. unit borrowed $150 million from African Export-Import Bank Ltd., Commercial Director Ralph Katsande said Nov. 19. The funds will help the operator pay off existing debt and purchase equipment, said a person familiar with the agreement who asked not to be identified because the transaction is private.

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