General Electric (GE) and the Power Construction Corp. of China (Power China) have been picked by the government’s of Zimbabwe and Zambia to build a $4bn hydropower project straddling their border in the Batoka Gorge, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has told Bloomberg.
"Zambia and Zimbabwe have agreed on this project. We have all agreed that we give it to GE – China Power and GE together," Mnangagwa said in an interview in Mozambique.
The 2,400-megawatt plant on the Zambezi River has been planned for years.
A formal contract has not been signed, but GE told Bloomberg that the Zambezi River Authority, which manages power plants on the river, has said it would appoint a final developer by September.
GE would be involved in the design and supply of hydropower technologies, the company said, adding that the $4bn cost of the project includes civil works, construction and power turbines.
The two African countries have been hit with electricity shortages after a drought hampered hydropower output.
Bloomberg notes that the Batoka Gorge scheme is on the same river — the Zambezi – whose reduction in flow has diminished the reservoir and cut the generating capacity of the downstream Kariba hydropower dam.
The news agency said the Zambezi’s flows in 2019 are near the lowest in half a century.
Image: The Batoka Gorge (International Rivers)