India gives Zim $26m credit

HARARE - India has extended a $26 million line of credit to Zimbabwe earmarked for improving power generation in the southern African country.

Jeitendra Tripathi, the Indian ambassador to Zimbabwe, yesterday said his country has no plans to be a donor to Zimbabwe but a trade partner.

“Most of you might be aware of the line of credit the government of India is offering right now, which is $26 million to upgrade means of power generation in Zimbabwe,” he said at the India Zimbabwe Chamber of Commerce conference.

He said India was committed to the upgrading of Hwange Thermal Power Station and the Bulawayo Power Plant.
Zimbabwe has been experiencing massive power challenges with load shedding affecting domestic consumers and the few operating industries which are now relying on power generators.

The country, through the Zimbabwe Power Company is currently producing 1 200 megawatts (MW) against a projected energy demand of 2 200 MW per day.

Industry experts contend that if the power situation does not improve soon, industrial capacity will continue to deteriorate.

Tripathi said his country was also investing towards solar tower lights for high density areas, as Zimbabweans braces for four more years of power blackouts.

Normal electricity supplies are only expected in 2018 after the completion of the Kariba South Hydro-power station.

“We are also contributing in the construction of solar tower lights in high density areas in Harare, Bulawayo and Mutare,” Tripathi said.

Zimbabwe and India, through Essar Africa Holdings Limited, has also entered into a “definitive” agreement aimed at reviving the Ziscosteel (now NewZimSteel) plant and develop an iron ore beneficiation plant in the country.

Mike Bimha, minister of Industry and Commerce, said the revival of Ziscosteel was imminent.

“This is one of my ministry’s priorities and its revival is imminent,” he said.

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