Nigeria signs deal with China Exim Bank for 700-MW Zungeru hydropower project

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The Nigerian government has signed a deal with the Export-Import Bank of China that will allow for the construction of the 700-MW Zungeru hydropower project.

A quarter of the US$1.3 billion project will be funded by Nigeria, while the remaining 75% will be provided by China Exim.

"The loan is obtained at a highly favorable concessional term of 2.5% interest with a seven-year grace period and 20 year maturity period," Nigeria's government said.

The project will be developed by the China National Electric and Engineering Corporation and Sinohydro, Nigerian Minister of Finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said during the agreement's signing ceremony.

Officials hope the Zungeru plant will help alleviate the country's massive energy deficit, where blackouts are a near daily occurrence and much of the population relies on diesel generators.

The plant will also be a boom for Nigeria's economy, which is already Africa's second strongest in terms of its gross domestic product.

"It would create thousands of jobs for Nigerian engineers, technicians and artisans during the construction phase directly and indirectly," the minister said. "It would also boost the local economy of Zungeru as well as its environs."

HydroWorld.com reported earlier this year that the country had signed a memorandum with India's Skipper Group to develop a pair of small hydroelectric projects in Nigeria's Kano State.

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