China offers Zambia $1bn for power project

The China Development Bank (CDB) on Tuesday offered to provide $1-billion for a planned hydroelectric station in Zambia and proposed a Chinese company to develop the project.

Jiang Chaoliang, president of the state-owned CBD, said Beijing-based Sinohydro Corporation, which has expressed interest in developing the $1,5-billion Kafue Gorge Lower power station, could bring valuable experience to the project.

“With the financial stature that CDB has and the rich experience of Sinohydro Power Corporation, we believe that we will be able to contribute to the alleviation of the bottlenecks Zambia is facing in terms of hydro power,” Jiang said during a visit to Zambia.

Construction on the 600MW project, which is aimed at easing power outages in the poor Southern African country, is due to begin next year.

Sinohydro is currently the contractor for Zambia’s Kariba North Bank extension hydro project, designed to add 360MW of capacity to the 600MW Kariba plant.

CDB has helped finance a raft of projects in Zambia, with outstanding loans totalling $112-million. The Chinese bank has said it could provide financing of up to $1,4-billion for various projects, including the $1-billion for the Kafue Gorge station.

Kenneth Konga, Zambia’s minister of energy and water development, said Zambia needed to build more hydro-power capacity and would move quickly to tap the pledged funds from CDB.

“Because we are the ones that are in a hurry to develop, we shall move with the quickest speed to ensure that we access the funds from the CDB and the China-Africa Development Fund,” he said. — Sapa-AFP

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