Sinohydro to build US$237 million sewage treatment plants in Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwean economy has gone through a traumatic period of hyper-inflation and negative growth, and the country increasingly turns to China for much-needed finance

Sinohydro has signed a US$237 million deal to build four sewage treatment plants and upgrade others for Harare city council in Zimbabwe, under a partnership agreed by the two parties.

The chief representative for Sinohydro in Zimbabwe, Wu Yifeng, told Xinhua that the project would increase waste water treatment capacity and quality, avoid sewage spillages, plus reduce environment pollution and outbreaks of disease.

Wu also said both parties would push for the projects to start as soon as possible. The city council has already agreed to the proposal, and Sinohydro is carrying out feasibility studies.

Harare has five sewerage treatment plants, but suffers from a serious capacity deficiency.

As Zimbabwe attempts to get back on its feet following the disastrous economic collapse under President Robert Mugabe, who was forced from power in late 2017 after ruling the country since independence from the United Kingdom was formally granted in 1980, China has emerged as an important partner for infrastructure projects.  

Last year, Sinohydro affiliate Power China completed an expansion to the Kariba South hydropower project, backed by a loan from China Exim Bank.

Power China is also currently in talks on building phase one of the planned Sengwa thermal project, after signing a preliminary agreement with RioZim. The exclusive agreement is among the independent projects licensed by the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA).  

RioZim was incorporated in 1956 as Rio Tinto Southern Rhodesia. It was set up initially to develop and mine the Empress Nickel deposit, and was the first mining operation to be set up outside Europe by Rio Tinto plc.

RioZim separated from Rio Tinto plc in 2004 and became a wholly-owned Zimbabwean company that produces gold and coal, and refines nickel and copper. The company is listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.

Sengwa is planned as a series of power plants of 250 MW each, but could eventually total 2,000 MW. It will make an important contribution to reducing the need to import expensive energy from neighbouring South Africa.

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