President Robert Mugabe is in India for the India-Africa Summit, where Harare is said to have secured a number of business deals that may help improve the ailing economy.
Top of the deals is one in which India’s Eximbank has offered Zimbabwe an $87 million loan facility for the refurbishment of the Bulawayo Thermal Power Station.
The president, according to state media, is leading a huge delegation comprising several government ministers. The Herald newspaper described the summit as the largest diplomatic event since the Commonwealth and Non-Aligned nation summits of 1983.
Several African leaders, including the African Union Commission chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, are attending the four-day-summit that ends Thursday.
Independent political commentator, Chamunorwa Madiridze, told Studio 7 Mr. Mugabe, who’s been out of the country at least 40 times this year, may not reap much from his current trip considering not much has come out of the so-called mega deals with China.
Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who’s part of a high powered government delegation attending the India-Africa Summit in New Delhi, was expected to sign the deal on behalf of government.
Eximbank deputy managing director, David Rasquhina, was quoted in the Herald as saying, "The rehabilitation will obviously boost Bulawayo Thermal Power Station's energy capacity generation and also improve energy efficiency, which would in turn be fed onto the national grid and in the process help households who have become accustomed to using generators for energy."
The deal is part of India’s Africa focus program under which the Indian government provides loans for infrastructure, agriculture and energy development.
The Bulawayo Thermal Station, which has a capacity of generating 40 megawatts of power, is currently not producing any power.
The Indian loan is expected to bring joy to Zimbabweans who are facing serious power shortages.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president, Busisa Moyo, said the deal is a big boost for Zimbabwe’s ailing industry and may inspire foreign investors who had lost confidence in the country.