Zambian leader commissions Chinese-built power plant

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ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA - JANUARY 17 : Zambian President Edgar Lungu attends a High Level Consultation Meeting with African leaders on DR Congo election at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, on January 17, 2019. (Photo by Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
File Photo: ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA – JANUARY 17 : Zambian President Edgar Lungu attends a High Level Consultation Meeting with African leaders on DR Congo election at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, on January 17, 2019. (Photo by Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Zambian President Edgar Lungu on Friday launched a power plant in Chikankata district in the southern part of the country, saying it showed the government’s commitment and resilience in ensuring that the country’s electricity needs were secured.

China’s hydropower engineering and construction company Sinohydro is the main contractor of the project.

The commissioning of the Kafue Gorge Lower Hydropower Station was expected to add an additional 750 megawatts of power to the national grid.

Lungu said the country has witnessed increased demand for electricity over the years resulting in increased investment in power generation and transmission infrastructure.

The investment, he said, has been accomplished amidst financial and global health challenges especially the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In less than seven years my government has introduced an additional 1,350 megawatts of power generation to the national electricity. Today as I speak, we have a total installed capacity of 3,250 megawatts. This is an increase of more than 70 percent from previously installed capacity of approximately 1,900 megawatts,” he said.

The president said the investment will not only make the country’s energy secure but also allow it to become an electricity hub within the southern African region.

He thanked China for contributing to the country’s development, adding that China has been an “all-weather friend” to Zambia.

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.

The Chinese envoy said the project will contribute to Zambia’s efforts to tackle power shortages and promote the development of different sectors of the economy.

He further commended Sinohydro for making full use of its advantages in financing, technology and management to overcome the impact brought by the COVID-19 pandemic in the construction of the project.

He said that China will always be Zambia’s sincere friend and reliable partner.

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