CHINESE Ambassador to Zambia, Zhou Yuxiao says China is eager to participate in the financing of the Batoka Power Project. The Batoka project, which may cost about US$6 billion, includes the construction of a dam and a hydro-power plant on the Zambezi River and has the potential of generating 1,600 Mega Watts.
Ambassador Zhou said the project was important to both Zambia and Zimbabwe as it would boost electricity generation capacity for the two countries.
"Power is very important for any country and at this moment, you have a shortage, so we are certainly willing to join you in handling that project and as far as the Chinese government is concerned, we are willing to help you financially," ambassador Zhou said in an interview. "There are also Chinese companies that are willing to invest in this power industry."
Zambia and Zimbabwe have over the last years been struggling to meet local energy needs because of aging facilities.
Ambassador Zhou explained that it was very difficult for any country to advance its economic and social development if it was failing to meet its energy needs.
"I am glad that Zambia holds 40 per cent of the water resources in Southern Africa, so this is a big advantage to start developing hydro power in a big way and you can count on China for financial availability," ambassador Zhou said.
Progress has been made in the public tender process for the construction of the Batoka hydro-power project.
Energy minister, Christopher Yaluma, is hoping for construction work to start on the project by the end of the year.
Yaluma said since Zambia and Zimbabwe revived the Batoka project, it had attracted an "unprecedented number of unsolicited expressions of interest."
The results of the feasibility studies are expected to be submitted by the end of this year.
Source: China ready to finance Batoka power project (The Post, Zambia - 15-05-14)