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Zimbabwe and Botswana Agree US$8M, 90 Megawatt Power Generation Deal

Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority Managing Director Noah Gwariro told the state-run Herald newspaper that 40 megawatts from the Bulawayo station will flow to customers in Botswana, the other 50 to Zimbabwean customers

Zimbabwe has entered a US$8 million joint venture with neighboring Botswana to overhaul a coal-fired power electrical generation plant in Bulawayo for an eventual output of 90 megawatts which the two countries will share.

The state-controlled Herald newspaper quoted Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority Managing Director Noah Gwariro as saying 40 megawatts from the station, currently inactive, will flow to customers in Botswana. He said US$4.5 million will go to refurbish the plan while US$3.5 million will be set aside to purchase coal from the Hwange colliery northwestern Zimbabwe.

The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority has a similar US$40 million deal with Namibia to upgrade a coal-fired plant in Hwange itself.

But some Zimbabweans have criticized the idea of exporting electric power when consumers and businesses now face constant outages.

Energy Minister Elias Mudzuri told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu that the major challenge for Zimbabwe at this point is to improve the political climate to encourage investment in the power-generation sector.

He said the country's longer-term energy plan calls for expanded hydro-electric generation tapping the Zambezi River on the border with Zambia.