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Zimbabwe Minister Says Harare To Renegotiate Power Deal With Namibia

Harare is supplying Namibia with about 150 megawatts, but at the same time the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority has run up a US$100 million bill importing 300 megawatts from Zambia and Mozambique

Zimbabwe is seeking to renegotiate the rates at which it exports electricity to Namibia under a deal struck in 2007, Energy Minister Elton Mangoma said Thursday.

The minister told reporters that Zimbabwe, which has chronic power shortages, has since been exporting power to Namibia below cost since entering the agreement.

The prices were set in a deal signed by the former ZANU-PF government of President Robert Mugabe. Since February 2009 Zimbabwe has had a national unity government including both formations of the Movement for Democratic Change.

Under the deal Namibia provided US$40 million to refurbish Hwange Power Station in Matabeleland in exchange for power over a period of five years, a situation Mangoma, of the MDC formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, says is unacceptable.

Harare is supplying Namibia with about 150 megawatts as part of the 2007 agreement. Zimbabwe is currently generating between 1,300-1,400 megawatts, well short of national demand of around 2,000 megawatts, said Mangoma.

The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority at the same time is importing 300 megawatts from Zambia and Mozambique, and has run up a US$100 million bill doing so.

Economist Godfrey Kanyenze of the Labor and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe said Zimbabwe should renegotiate the agreement.