Envoys from several developing countries in Asia and Africa have lauded China’s cooperation with Africa in the energy sector. The envoys noted that China was contributing immensely to the development of economies in Africa through investing in the priority energy sector.
They also hailed China’s support for Zimbabwe’s development during a tour of the Kariba South Expansion Project being undertaken by Sinohydro in the northern part of Zimbabwe along the border with Zambia. Sinohydro, China’s power engineering , nd construction heavyweight, has undertaken major power projects in several African countries, boosting Africa’s energy generation capacity and helping mitigate acute power shortages.
Sinohydro has since 2014 been undertaking expansion work at Zimbabwe’s second largest power plant, where it will add 2 x 150 megawatt (MW) units at a cost of 360 million U.S. dollars.China’s Exim Bank funded 90 percent of the project while Zimbabwe contributed the remaining 10 percent.
Work on the expansion project is now 85 percent complete and the first unit is expected to come on stream in December 2017 while the second one will be commissioned in the first quarter of 2018.The 300-MW expansion is expected to go a long way in alleviating power shortages in Zimbabwe, which currently imports 300 MW from neighboring Mozambique ad South Africa to plug the power deficit.
Indian ambassador to Zimbabwe Rungsung Masakui told Xinhua that any friendly country working for the development of Zimbabwe was doing a commendable job. “The 300 MW expansion project is a huge amount of green energy that will contribute immensely to the development Zimbabwe,” Masakui said.
Indonesian ambassador Stephanus Yuwono said his country supported any country with the objective of helping Zimbabwe to develop, like what China was doing. He acknowledged that Indonesia, in its small way, was cooperating with Zimbabwe in the education sector where it awards scholarships to Zimbabwean students to study in the Asian country.
“They (Chinese) have done several projects that help to improve the life standards of the African people and this is commendable,” Yuwono said. Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and Democratic Republic of Congo ambassador to Zimbabwe Mwana Nanga Mawampanga said China’s win-win cooperation in Africa was commendable.
“They have built huge development capacity and they are bringing that excess capacity here to share it with us and help us in our development,” he said. He said Africans have to disabuse themselves from the Western allegation that China was coming to recolonize Africa, explaining that “China does not need to colonize Africa because it understands that by sharing what they have it makes them stronger”.
Africa was united for political empowerment and it was now time for the continent to strengthen unity for economic development, Mawampanga added. Kenyan ambassador to Zimbabwe Lucy Chelimo also lauded China’s development partnership in Africa, saying its model of cooperation was the best to promote development on the continent.
“I would like to welcome the Chinese partnership that they have encouraged in Africa. They have been a great partner of development for Africa. Development partnership is the best because it gives countries opportunities to develop themselves and to be able to learn more instead of being given aid,” she said. She noted that China had done many infrastructure projects in Kenya, including building a super highway and the recently launched standard gauge railway.
“This shows that China is a great friend that we would like to continue working with in Africa,” she said. Namibian ambassador to Zimbabwe Balbina Des Pienaar said China was playing a significant role in technology transfer in Africa.
“Energy has been such a major challenge in Africa and the significant investment that we are observing in this project (Kariba South Expansion) in which China has contributed speaks volumes and one can not over emphasize the significant role that China is playing in assisting Africa to become self reliant in terms of energy generation,” she said. The Namibian envoy said what was commendable with Chinese energy investments in Africa was their integration of Chinese expertise with local expertise.