Chinese group to design $2.1bn power plant in Zimbabwe

27 September 2016

RIOZIM chose a state-owned Chinese company to design a $2.1bn power plant it plans to build in Zimbabwe, which faces frequent blackouts, and is lobbying Eskom to buy from the facility to help attract investors. State Nuclear Electric Power Planning Design and Research Institute, based in Beijing, “has already come in to design the generators” for the 2,800-MW coal-fired Sengwa plant, RioZim non-executive director Caleb Dengu said. RioZim has written to South African Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson asking that Eskom buy 2,000 MW, he said. 

Zimbabwe rations power daily, producing and importing about 1,300 MW against demand of about 2,200 megawatts. Of the $2.1bn needed for the plant, $50m will be for a coal mine that will supply the station. “Most of them will say they will finance if Eskom comes on board with an off-take agreement, because they trust Eskom, because it is bankable. ZESA is not bankable,” he said, referring to Zimbabwe’s utility. 

Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, is considering investments in Zimbabwe’s cement, power generation and coal-mining industries as part of an expansion in the southern African nation, he said in August last year. As part of the plan, he is considering partnering with RioZim through Black Rhino Group, a $5bn African infrastructure fund in which US private-equity group Blackstone Group LP is a co-investor. One of the conditions for the investment is that the country reforms Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Co.   

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