In the effort to drive the country towards energy self-sufficiency as a key economic enabler, President Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to commission the construction of the $1 billion Hwange 7 and 8 Power extension project on Wednessday.
Financed through a loan from China Export Import Bank, the project is expected to add 600 megawatts to the power station that currently has generation capacity of 920MW, state-owned newspaper The Herald reported.
Chinese firm Sinohydro which recently completed a 300MW expansion project in Kariba was contracted for the Hwange project. Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) has started drawing down on the $1 billion facility and commenced the ground work.
Speaking about the project commission, chief executive Josh Chifamba reportedly said “All is in place and we are looking forward to this exciting moment.
“The last time we did investment in Hwange was more than 30 years ago. This is a very important development and what it means for the country is we are putting the correct fundamentals for power supply to support the economy. We expect the economy to experience a boost in the coming years and this is all the foundation we are laying to support the economy.”
In the same light, Energy and Power Development Minister Simon Khaya Moyo said “It’s a very important landmark. We are not yet self-sufficient in power generation.
“We still continue to import power from Eskom South Africa and HCB in Mozambique but this is a very determined move to show that we are aiming at self-sufficiency and the groundbreaking ceremony opens the way.
“There are also a number of other independent power producers and we want to accelerate solar projects together with the rural electrification projects. We need more power now because there is no doubt industries will be opening and they all need power.”
Hundreds of jobs will also be created after the project is completed.