The Chinese government funded a power plant that President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe inaugurated on Thursday. He stated that the station would go a long way toward reducing power shortages ahead of the upcoming national elections. Mnangagwa, who is 80 years old and running for a second term as president in the election that will take place on August 23, has been on a ribbon-cutting frenzy in an effort to present himself as a go-getter and to reassure people about the status of the economy.
On Monday, he inaugurated a coal mine, and on Wednesday, he opened a clinic. On Thursday, he formally launched the 600 MW coal-fired power plant that was located in the town of Hwange, which is located in the northwest of the country. In the midst of a crackdown on the opposition and a disgruntled population that is suffering from hyperinflation, poverty, and high unemployment, analysts anticipate a contentious vote around the end of this month.
After the launch of the new factory, Mnangagwa gave a speech to the supporters who were present at a nearby stadium. He said the new plant would be “a critical enabler of development,” and he added that Zimbabwe was “open for business.” The southern African nation, which is landlocked, has been struggling for years under the weight of acute power shortages, which, at their worst point around the end of last year, left millions of people without electricity for up to 19 hours a day.
Although the majority of people continue to face daily power interruptions that last for a couple of hours, the government said in July that blackouts would no longer occur. Mnangagwa was able to demonstrate to the international community, where Zimbabwe is mostly isolated, that he still has excellent allies because of the newly constructed power station.
The plant, which is an enlargement of a pre-existing station, is one of four energy projects that are being done with a loan from China in the amount of $1.2 billion. These relations between Harare and China date back to the battle for independence from Britain. Zhou Ding, the Chinese ambassador, spoke at the stadium event and said that China is always ready to help Zimbabwe achieve its goal of lifting its people out of poverty.
Zimbabwe is unable to obtain finance from foreign lenders such as the IMF and the World Bank as a result of payment arrears, and it is also the target of western sanctions because of corruption and violations of human rights. Mnangagwa has, for a long time, placed blame for the country’s catastrophic difficulties on the punitive measures; however, the United States and Europe refute this claim.
He assured his supporters in Hwange that Zimbabwe will now be able to meet its own power requirements on its own and that the government will continue to concentrate on expanding the economy “by thinking outside the box.”