China keen to invest in solar power in Zimbabwe

By Staff reporter | 19 Sep 2019 at 17:16hrs
CHINA Jiangxi International Corporation (CJIC) is keen on investing in Zimbabwe's solar power energy sector, as the country continues to struggle with electricity shortages resulting in blackouts of up to 18 hours a day.

This comes as the company has successfully completed a Beijing-funded 50-megawatt plant in Kenya and the east Asian giant is keen on expanding its influence under the Belt and Road Initiative.

"We would like to make more investments into Zimbabwe, particularly in the energy sector or area (and) as we have already done with the Garissa solar project in Kenya," Xiong Yezhao, CJIC's vice chief engineer, said, adding that although the company "did not have big renewable energy projects in the country, they had modular or demonstration units on the ground".

"The Kenyan project was financed by the Chinese government — through a concessionary loan from the China Export and Import Bank - after a request by the Finance ministry of that country, and so, if Harare also wants our support it can go that route," he said.

Crucially, Yezhao said CJIC was hoping for a better policy-making regime by President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government, in order for the country to attract more investment. His concerns come as Chamber of Chinese Enterprises chairman Ye Hai has said recent problems, and inconsistencies had rendered Zimbabwe a difficult place to conduct business.

And for the major power projects to succeed, the company says it would require the support of the Harare administration.
CJIC is a top 250 international contractor and the Jiangxi-based construction and engineering behemoth also has interests in the mining and infrastructural development sectors in Zimbabwe.

After spearheading the development of Kezi irrigation scheme in Matabeleland South province, Marovanyati, two other dams in Masvingo and Bindura, the company has set its sights for a return to the revived Kunzvi Dam project to provide water for Harare and surrounding places.

And officials say, the economic value of its Zimbabwean projects are worth about US$200 million so far.

In Africa, CJIC has implemented 130-plus projects and its global annual turnovers are in the region of $8 billion. The continent, Yezhao said, has also benefitted from US$80 million-plus in taxes.

Meanwhile, Jiangxi has invested in a 465 square-kilometre special economic zone for biomedical suppliers, technology components and global automotive parts manufacturers.

The State-driven initiative not only comes with a one-stop licensing and verification authority, but it is fully equipped with banks, support infrastructure and is aimed at lifting this southern economic province of China.



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