Energy-hungry Zambia commissions Chinese-built hydro plant in Chikankata

Zambian President Edgar Lungu on Friday presided over the commissioning of the first unit of a new hydropower plant in the Chikankata district in southern Zambia, financed and built by China’s Sinohydro.

The Kafue Gorge Lower Hydropower Station is expected to add an extra 750MW of power to the national grid.

"Our country has, over the years, seen increased demand for electricity to power activities," the president said. 

"Demand has been in various sectors such as mining, agriculture, tourism, industries, education, healthcare services, and indeed our homes. The growth on demand for power has necessitated accelerated investments in power generation and transmission infrastructure.

"It is not a secret from 1977 to 2011 that investments in power generation did not grow proportionately with increased demand."

Lungu, who faces a general election on 12 August, said his government had introduced an extra 1,350MW of power generation in the last seven years.

He said the investment would allow Zambia to become an "electricity hub" in southern Africa.

Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Li Jie said the power plant was a key project under the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and the Belt and Road Initiative, reports Xinhua. 

He commended Sinohydro for financing the plant and finishing construction despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

Image: Zambian President Edgar Lungu at the commissioning of the Kafue Gorge Lower Hydropower Station on Friday, 23 July (Salim Henry/State House Press Office via Facebook)


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