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Zimbabwe Committed to Electric Power Deal With Namibia - Energy Minister

Reports said Energy Minister Mudzuri ordered ZESA to stop exporting electric power, but he told VOA Harare remains committed to the deal with Namibia and cooperation with other regional partners in the sector

Zimbabwean Energy and Power Development Minister Elias Mudzuri said Tuesday that the Harare government will stand by an electric power generation and supply deal struck between the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority or ZESA and the Namibian power utility Nam-Power.

Namibia provided US$40 million under the 2007 agreement to refurbish a coal-fired power generation plant in Hwange, Matabeleland North province, in exchange for a portion of the electricity generated by the facility.

The agreement with Namibia and a similar deal with Botswana have come under criticism by those who say Zimbabwe should not be exporting power when it does not have enough electricity to meet its domestic needs. Blackouts have become a way of life for Zimbabwean businesses and households.

Recent news reports said Mudzuri ordered ZESA to stop exporting power, but the minister told VOA Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that Harare remains committed to the deal and to maintaining cordial relations with its sectoral partners in the Southern African Development Community.

In recent years as various Zimbabwean facilities have gone off-line partially or in full, much of the country's electric power has come from South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo and other countries in the region. But power coming from South Africa has dwindled as that country has experienced its own shortages of electricity due to surging demand with little capacity growth.