Envoy asks Chinese firms to improve relationship with Zambian government

Sunday, Jul 24,2011, 10:10:48 PM

Chinese companies have been asked to improve their relationship with the Zambian government and local people to boost their grip on huge infrastructural projects currently being enjoyed.

And China's Sinohydro has started building the Us $2 billion 750 megawatts Kafue Gorge Lower Hydropower station which is expected to boost power security in Zambia and the region once completed in 2017.

Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony for Kafue Gorge Lower on Wednesday, Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Zhou Yu Xiao said there was need for Chinese companies to fully exploit opportunities in Zambia that arise from the enactment of the Public Private Partnership Act.

Ambassador Zhou said Sinohydro is currently building 360 megawatts Kariba North Bank Extension project,

Kafue Gorge Power Station rehabilitation project, 120 megawatts Itezhi-Tezhi and Kafue Gorge Lower, just about all key projects aimed to boosting Zambia's power output.

Sinohydro, which controls about 50 per cent of the global hydropower construction projects, has combined power works of about US $3 billion in the country.

Kafue Gorge Lower is a joint venture between Sinohydro, Zesco and China Africa Development Fund being the shareholders and the consortium led by China Development bank providing financing support.

"While having full confidence in Sinohydro, I still wish to take this opportunity to call upon the contractor to implement the project with good quality, high speed, abide by relevant laws and regulation of the land and employing as many workers as possible and paying them fairly as well as protecting the local environment," said Ambassador Zhou."

And I am also confident the host government and local community will continue to give the contractor and financiers the necessary support and cooperation to facilitate their smooth operations."

And President Rupiah Banda said the successful implementation and completion of the project would add 750 megawatts of power to the national grid.

"This makes Kafue Gorge Lower one of the most important components of my government's strategy to meet growing energy demand in the country and the region as whole," said President Banda during the ground breaking ceremony for the construction.

According to the scope and cost of the project, the recommended configuration involved construction of Concrete Faced Rockfill Dam and a five unit surface powerhouse with an installed capacity of 750 megawatts.

The estimated cost for the project is US $1.46 billion while the financing costs brought the total project cost to US $1.94 billion.

The project is being financed 70 per cent by a loan from China Africa Development Fund and China Development Bank.

The 30 per cent would be equity contribution shared by Sinohydro, China Africa Development Fund and Zesco.

The plant would be operated for 30 years by a special purpose vehicle called SINOZAM Power Corporation, after which it would be handed back to Zesco.

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