Zimbabwe needs at least R189 million ($14 million) a month to meet its 600MW power deficit, acting Chief Executive of ZESA Patrick Chivaura said. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

DURBAN - Zimbabwe requires at least $14 million a month to meet its 600MW power deficit, acting Chief Executive of Zimbabwe's power utility,Patrick Chivaura, said on Monday. 

According to Fin24, the President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has since engaged with President Cyril Ramaphosa for help.

The two Presidents met over the weekend in NIger. 

According to the Zimbabwean President, they exchanged views on how to deal with the issues of the power shortfall in the country. 

Mnangagwa said that ZESA owes Eskom quite a lot of money and they were able to pay R142 million ($10 million) last week to reduce that debt. 

Mnangagwa said that this has allowed them to have discussions and that Minister of Energy in Zimbabwe will be heading to South Africa this week to discuss new arrangements.

ZESA's Chief Executive said that they country needs at least 600MW to meet its power shortfall which has resulted in power cuts that last between 16 and 19 hours in a day. 

Zimbabwean authorities said that the country should have had power cuts long before the current shortfall but they relied on the central bank for bail outs.

The bail outs were stopped last year October after the new Finance Minister cut off the financing of electricity imports by the central bank. 

Governor of the central bank, John Mangudya, said that the main bank was funding power imports for the last five years through the use of a government overdraft facility. 

According to the central bank governor, ZESA was not making enough revenue to pay for its imports. 

He added that in the short-term Zimbabwe needed to import power to cover-up the supply gap.

Chivaura said that they needed R189 million ($14 million) to prevent load shedding and on top of that they they still have indebtedness to sort out. 

Ramaphosa will discuss Zimbabwe's energy crisis with Eskom

Ramaphosa said that he will discuss Zimbabwe's energy issues with Eskom adding that increasing the supply of electricity to Zimbabwe needs a balancing act.

Ramaphosa was speaking on the sidelines of the 12th Extraordinary Summit on the Continental Free Trade Area in Niger after talks with Mnangagwa.

In an interview with Zimbabwe's state broadcaster, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, the SA president said that in his meeting with Mnangagwa they spoke about the energy issues. 

Africa Free Trade Area Agreement

President Cyril Ramaphosa spoke at the 12th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union (AU) between the 7 – 8 July 2019. 

Ramaphosa anticipates the agreement will catapult the economies of many African countries onto a higher growth trajectory and said that South Africa stands to significantly benefit from being part of the world’s largest single market encompassing 55 countries with a combined population of 1,2 billion people and a combined GDP of $3,2 trillion (R4.54 trillion), according to a media statement from The Presidency. 

The President sees the implementation of the agreement as a platform for African countries to trade among themselves and reap the benefits of the tariff-free area. 

One of the key spin-offs is expected to be greater focus and urgency for infrastructure development across the continent to support economic activities. 

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE