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Zimbabwe confirms annual inflation index rising to 76 per cent

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe’s annual rate of inflation for the month of April 2019 rose to 75.86 percent, up from 66.80 percent in the previous month.

Month on month inflation also climbed to 5.52 percent, gaining 1.14 percentage points on the March rate of 4.38 percent, the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency said Wednesday.

Zimbabwe’s annual rate of inflation has been on an upward trend since October last year amid worsening economic conditions characterized by shortages of fuel, power and foreign currency.


Zimbabwe power utility begins load shedding to manage power shortfall

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Power utility Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) began load shedding Monday to manage a power shortfall caused by limited generation and reduced imports.

ZETDC had last Thursday warned power users that it might be forced to re-introduce load shedding in the near future if demand continued to outstrip supplies following the curtailment of power generation at its Kariba South Hydro Power Station.

There has also been curtailed generation at the country’s thermal power stations because of aged equipment.

According to a schedule issued by the power utility at the weekend, load shedding will normally be implemented during the peak periods of 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

However, experience has shown that periods of power outages are much longer than the scheduled times.

"Every effort is being directed at improving the generation capacity to ensure that supply disruptions are kept at minimum levels.

"In order to assist in reducing the power demand, customers are encouraged to use the limited available power sparingly by switching off all non-essential loads.

"Domestic geysers, swimming pool pumps, jacuzzis and other related equipment should be switched off at peak times for more areas to have power," the company said.

Both domestic and industrial users will be affected in what the company said would be Stage 1 of load shedding, while a second stage will be implemented if the power deficit is more than earlier anticipated.

"Please be advised that the power supply situation is dynamic.

"In the event that the power shortfall increases beyond the planned limits, load shedding will move into Stage 2.

"These are additional areas that well be switched off as peer the schedule when the shortfall is higher for the particular time.

"Customers will be informed as soon as the situation requires Stage 2 implementation," the company warned.

Zimbabwe had enjoyed more than four years without load shedding, but the drought of 2018/19 has pushed the Zambezi River Authority to reduce water allocation to the Zimbabwe Power Company from 19 billion cubic meters to 16 billion cubic meters for 2019, thus reducing power generation.

The rationing is meant to ensure that the plant continues to run until the next rainy season.

Power generation at Hwange Thermal Power Station and the smaller thermal power stations of Harare, Bulawayo and Munyati remains fragile because of old age.

Chinese company Sinohydro is currently refurbishing Hwange Thermal Power Station at a cost of 1.5 billion U.S. dollars to add two generators each producing 300MW.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa commissioned the project last June, with work expected to be completed in 42 months.

The power station currently has an installed capacity of 920MW but cannot generate at optimum level because of the ageing equipment.

Private power generators rumble again as energy crisis hits Zimbabwe

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Home and industrial power generators are rumbling again as Zimbabwe plunged into an energy crisis with fuel and electricity running short for both domestic and industrial use.

Apart from coming into use during occasional power outages largely caused by faults on the electricity grid, the generators had been safely tucked away as Zimbabwe enjoyed more than four years without load shedding.

While there had been a steady supply of electricity, the country had however been grappling with petrol and diesel shortages since 2018.

The energy situation got worse in May as power outages increased with the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) announcing that it was introducing load shedding because of limited power generation at its power stations and limited imports.

Reduced power generation at the Kariba South Hydro Power Station was caused by the drought which hit southern Africa during the 2018/19 rainy season, which has affected inflows into Lake Kariba.

The Zambezi River Authority, which administers the lake, has reduced power generation allocation to the Zimbabwe Power Company from 19 billion cubic meters to 16 billion cubic meters for 2019 to ensure that the plant continues to run until the next rainy season, resulting in corresponding reduction of power generation to an average of 358MW from the planned average of 542MW.

According to a schedule issued by the company, load shedding will normally be implemented during the peak periods of 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. However, the shedding periods have so far outlasted the prescribed times by far.

The use of generators has eased the lives of many people, but the biggest problem already is the accessing of either petrol or diesel to power them.

Some filling station operators frown upon the use of containers to carry fuel, arguing that in many cases their products ended up on the black market.

At a filling station in Mount Hampden, just outside Harare to the northwest, a man pushed his generator laden wheelbarrow to the front of the queue to prove his point, and for his reward he was allowed to put some more fuel in a small container he had brought along.

However, not all generators can fit into wheelbarrows and not all people with generators have wheelbarrows.

Fuel shortages started in early Sept. 2018 when Zimbabwe’s petrol consumption was 3.8 million liters a day while that of diesel was 4.1 million liters, compared to 1.5 million liters a day for petrol and 2.5 million liters a day for diesel in April of the same year.

Daily consumption of both petrol and diesel rose by 650 percent and 342 percent respectively between April and October 2018 but declined in Jan. 2019 after President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced huge price increases of about 150 percent for the commodities.


East China’s Zhejiang expands tourism co-operation with Africa

HANGZHOU China (Xinhua) -- An inaugural group of 350 Chinese tourists left Hangzhou, capital of east China’s Zhejiang Province, on Friday night for Djibouti, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, starting an 11-day trip to Africa.

It marks the start of a five-year tourism program launched by Zhejiang, aiming at advancing exchange and cooperation with Africa in areas such as culture, tourism and trade, in addition to bringing 10,000 travelers to countries participating in the program.

A number of African countries including Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia have signed up to the program.

China and Africa have seen rare opportunities for cultural and tourism cooperation thanks to the Belt and Road Initiative. In the past two years, Africa has become an important destination for tourists from this east Chinese province.

The initiative, proposed by China in 2013, aims to build trade and infrastructure networks connecting Asia with Europe and beyond along the ancient Silk Road trade routes for common development and prosperity.

Zimbabwean Ambassador to China Paul Chikawa said tourism cooperation was not only a bridge for Chinese and Africans to enhance mutual understanding and common progress, but also a basis for the two peoples to embrace each other.

  Zimbabwe confirms annual inflation index rising to 76 per cent | Coastweek

VICTORIA FALLS Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Victoria Falls on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia. The Victoria Falls has reached its peak season for tourism. XINHUA PHOTO - PENG LIJUN
"We will welcome the arrival of Chinese friends with the greatest enthusiasm and sincerity," the ambassador said.



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