HARARE, March 18 (Xinhua) — Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday called for more investment in the energy sector to meet the country’s growing power demand which is expected to peak at 2,000 MW by the end of 2023.

He said the country’s power demand was surging due to increased economic activity in various sectors that include housing development and construction. “The projections are that by end of 2023, the national demand for power will have increased by about 400 MW, taking average peak demand to 2,000 MW,” Mnangagwa said during a tour of the upgrading project of the 42-km Deka pipeline that supplies water to Hwange Thermal Power Station and surrounding communities. He said energy was a key enabler to the acceleration of the country’s modernization and industrialization agenda as well as sustainable socioeconomic growth. “It is thus imperative for all stakeholders in the energy sector to be proactive and to put all in place and complete all fundamental projects toward ensuring the continuous development and improvement in national power generation and distribution,” he said.

Zimbabwe has a peak electricity demand of 1,600 MW against an average of 1,200 MW that it is currently generating. It covers the shortfall through imports. To address perennial power shortages in the country, the Zimbabwean government is undertaking several electricity generation projects, most of which are funded by extra-budgetary funds, loans and the private sector. China has also been funding most of the major power generation projects in Zimbabwe in recent years, including the expansion of the Kariba South Hydro Power Station by 300 MW at a cost of 535 million U.S. dollars in 2018, and the current 1.5-billion-dollar expansion of Hwange Thermal Power Station by 600 MW. Mnangagwa said the Hwange Power Station Extension project, which is now 82 percent complete, is an integral part of Zimbabwe’s energy strategy to achieve energy self-sufficiency by 2025.