If there is a country likely to be hurt the most by President Xi Jinping’s decision for Beijing to stop building new power plants overseas, it is Zimbabwe.
Among several African countries with large deposits of coal, it is heavily dependent on China after it had sanctions imposed on it by the United States and some European countries because of former president Robert Mugabe’s human rights abuses and policy of seizing land from white farmers.
It was planning to build several coal-fired power plants costing a total of US$15 billion, with Chinese lenders initially committed to them. Private funding was not forthcoming, partly because of growing opposition from environmental campaigners.
But on Tuesday, in a pre-recorded speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Xi sounded a death knell for several coal projects, including in Zimbabwe, for which Chinese lenders were expected to provide financing.
Chinese cash funds African coal plants despite environmental concerns
Zimbabwe’s demand for power exceeds its supply, causing it to seek to build more plants. Its electricity shortage means it cannot attract power-intensive manufacturing companies.
- South China Morning Post