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African countries welcome Chinese investment in new energy sector

GLOBALTIMES – Delegates of African countries are welcoming Chinese companies to invest in their new energy sectors, as the region has huge potential for solar and wind power. They hope more Chinese companies will take part in new energy development and help to ease the power shortage problem.

The delegates were speaking at a forum at the ongoing Third China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo, which is being held in Changsha, Central China’s Hunan Province. The expo has attracted representatives from 53 African countries and 12 international organizations. It aims to further boost bilateral cooperation, with deals worth $19.1 billion expected to be signed.

China has advantages in new energy, and can help to establish solar power plants, wind farms, hydropower projects and other renewable energy projects, which will improve the quality of life for millions of people and contribute to energy security in Africa, said Solomon Tesfaye Telila, minister of the Embassy of Ethiopia at a forum held on Friday.

South Africa needs 600 billion yuan to reduce carbon emissions in the future, which will create many opportunities for Chinese energy companies in areas such as solar power. In addition, power transmission and distribution electricity infrastructure need to be developed, said Yusuf Timol, minister of the Embassy of South Africa.

Timol said that South Africa has huge solar energy resources, coupled with a daily solar radiation level of 4.5-6.5 kWh per square meter. “We hope that more Chinese enterprises will participate in the development of South Africa’s new energy industry, which will help relieve power shortages,” Timol added.

Timol said Chinese companies have unique advantages compared with traditional Western companies. For example, China’s investment in research and innovation has enabled the continuous development of cutting-edge technologies in the field of new energy, and China’s technology is very advanced and also cost-effective for developing countries, making it affordable for most South African people.

“Moreover, Chinese companies often have innovative financial support and will not take up our country’s financial resources,” Timol said.

The Zimbabwe power department has an open attitude toward investment and cooperation and is actively seeking partners to work on power generation, transmission and distribution, as well as manufacturing of electrical equipment, said Grasiano Nyaguse, minister of the Embassy of Zimbabwe.

China-Africa economic and trade cooperation has achieved fruitful results in the past 10 years. Official data showed that China-Africa trade has reached more than $2 trillion, and China’s direct investment in Africa has exceeded $30 billion, making it the fourth-largest source of investment in Africa.

China has continued to build a new energy system, and its investment in clean energy has ranked first in the world for many years. China’s installed wind power and photovoltaic power generation capacity also rank first in the world.

Chinese experts said the rising demand for new energy in Africa is due to a fast increase in electrification, which will bring rapid growth in total installed capacity. Meanwhile, Africa is one of the regions with the strongest economic growth in the world and most African countries are moving toward industrialization, which also increases energy demand.

Li Yalan, chairman of the International Gas Union, estimated that in the next 10 years, energy consumption in Africa will increase by about 30 per cent.

China has already helped African countries build a large number of new energy projects. The Garissa photovoltaic power generation project in Kenya is currently the largest photovoltaic power station in East Africa, with an average annual power generation of more than 76 million kWh, allowing for an annual reduction of 64,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

In June 2022, the first photovoltaic power station in the Central African Republic, the Sakai Photovoltaic Power Station, was connected to the grid for power generation, which has greatly alleviated power shortages in the capital Bangui and promoted local economic and social development.

In Ethiopia, the Aisha Wind Farm Project undertaken by China Dongfang Electric Corporation has been completed, with a total installed capacity of 120 megawatts.

Chinese companies also have an interest in further investment. Zhang Xinyu, general manager of Hunan-based Xiangfeilianbo International Trade company, told the Global Times that the company has just signed a deal with the Niger government to develop a large-scale Chinese industrial park, called the Niger Industrial Park. The first stage of the investment is $100 million, and the park will focus on new energy.

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