Zambia faces power blues
…as China pulls plug off Kafue Gorge Lower project

12th April 2022

Zambia´s aspirations of becoming a net exporter of electricity in the region have been ground to a halt after the biggest financier of its ambitious expansion programme China decided to stop funding the US$2.3billion project started by President Edgar Lungu.
This has raised deep concern from ZESCO insiders especially engineers who hoped the increased generation of power over time would to the following:

• Reduce power outages in Zambia
• Help increase production in the mining industry
• Help increase agriculture production and
• Ear huge amounts of money from exporting power to neighbouring countries such as South Africa, Namibia, Democratic Republic of Congo and others
“All this dream is shattered now after the government of President Hichilema just chose to blatantly and rudely ignore the importance of China when he assumed power,” an insider said.
To those that do not know about the Kafue Gorge project it involved the following between China and Zambia following good relations President Lungu enjoyed with President Xi Jinping administration.
• China would provide a total of five (5) power machines to increase electricity for Zambia
• The total cost is US2.3 billion Zambia was to pay, regarded as concessional without ties like IMF or the west does
• So far China has provided three power machines with the capacity of producing 150 megawatt’s each, if you multiply that by five, that will bring the total to 750 megawatts
• But now only three are installed and two are abandoned or dumped by China and wont happen again.


The consequences are that the power generation drive President Edgar Lungu started that has seen a major reduction in Zambia power loses could return.
The money Zambia was going to gain from exporting power to neighbouring countries is not going to be forthcoming.
The question therefore is, with austerity measures the IMF has imposed on Hichilema´s government, how will they pay China back its US$2.3 billion?

ZESCO CEO Victor Mapani in the meantime—who was stopped from giving himself a K2.8 million personal loan and buy 25 luxury vehicles—has no clue how to get the state energy company out of its current black hole.
Mapani´s crowning glory is that he boasts to have the ability to do no wrong in the eyes of Hichilema who trusts him the way he trusts his wife to run the company.

The worst case though is if Zambia cant pay China US2.3 billion, how will they even access a meagre US$1.3 billion from the IMF?
At the bottom of this according to insiders is Hichilema´s decision to treat China like trash and cosy with junior western diplomats, forgetting who funds Zambia the most.

More details coming…


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