Zimbabwe needs $2 billion investment to upgrade power infrastructure, minister says

Zimbabwe needs $2 billion investment to upgrade power infrastructure, minister says

By Nyasha Chingono I

Zimbabwe needs $2 billion in investment to upgrade its aging power infrastructure, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said last Friday, as constant plant failures cause crippling power cuts.

The southern African country is enduring power cuts of up to eight hours a day, impacting livelihoods and economic activity.

Ncube called for investment in solar power as studies have shown the potential for floating solar projects at the Kariba dam.

“We need about $2 billion to upgrade power transmission infrastructure,” Ncube told an investment conference in Johannesburg.

To encourage independent solar producers the government in 2022 unveiled incentives meant to help bring 1,100 MW of new solar projects on stream by 2025. However, a lack of investment in new energy projects has slowed progress.

Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube

While hydropower remains depressed due to the El Nino induced drought, Zimbabwe’s main Hwange coal-fired power plant and other smaller plants are operating below capacity as a result of plant failures.

A hydropower generation project with neighbouring Mozambique is also in the works, Ncube said.

“We are cooperating with Mozambique to develop three or so hydropower projects along the Zambezi as it meanders into the Indian Ocean,” he said.

Hydrology is better in Mozambique than Zimbabwe due to the current drought.

Zimbabwe’s Deputy Minister of Mines Polite Kambamura also encouraged investors to invest in power generation.

Growth of the mining sector, which is Zimbabwe’s leading foreign currency earner, has been blighted by power challenges.