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Shenzhen Energy powers new path in Africa

Updated: 2015-01-16 08:36
By Zhang Yue (China Daily Africa)

A new electrical plant being built with Chinese development fund is helping meet Ghana's needs

Through the joint effort by Shenzhen Energy Group and the China-Africa Development Fund in 2007, a major power plant is providing electricity for the city of Tema in the Republic of Ghana.

Located 29 kilometers from the capital, Accra, the plant is run by Sunon-Asogli Power (Ghana) Ltd, and cofounded by Shenzhen Energy and the fund.

Shenzhen Energy powers new path in Africa

Power plant run by Sunon-Asogli Power (Ghana) Ltd and cofounded by Shenzhen Energy and the China-Africa Development Fund provides electricity for Tema, Ghana. Photos provided to China Daily

Shenzhen Energy powers new path in Africa

Shenzhen Energy powers new path in Africa
Staff members at the power plant run by Sunon-Asogli Power (Ghana) Ltd in Tema in the Republic of Ghana.

The power plant is the first built overseas by Shenzhen Energy and covers an area of 200,000 square meters. Today, it is an important source of power for Ghana.

The fund and Shenzhen Energy co-established Sunon-Asogli Power as part of China's "reaching-out" strategy of investing and expanding overseas.

Shenzhen Energy had been interested in investing in Africa since late 2006, when Ghana tribal leader Togbe Afede XIV invited Shenzhen Energy to look into the West African nation's power market.

The total capacity of the plant will be 560 mW from gas-steam power generators, built in two phases. The first phase of construction of two 100 mW gas-steam generators was completed and put into operation in 2010, mitigating Ghana's urgent power needs.

Shenzhen Energy powers new path in Africa

The first phase of the project generates about 15 percent of the country's total electricity and benefits more than 2 million residents.

Shenzhen Energy has recently expanded its energy market investments in Ghana. Feasibility studies for the second phase of the power plant is in progress and construction is to start in the spring. The company is also planning a coal-fired power plant and a wind farm in Ghana.

Currently, the company has 91 Chinese employees and 51 local employees.

The successful experience in Ghana has encouraged the company to expand their business to other countries in Africa. In recent years, it has participated in building power plants in Kenya and Zambia with the help of the China-Africa Business Council and the Shenzhen Trade Promotion Association.

Still, the company faces difficulties in Africa, says Li Xiaohai, head of Sunon-Asogli Power (Ghana) Ltd.

"Developing a business abroad is comparatively more risky because we have less experience and it is less predictable. We need to be prepared for all kinds of circumstances. The culture and political environment in African countries are very different," he says. "It is a big sacrifice for our project managers to work in a foreign country as they have great workloads and sometimes even face danger. Therefore, we sincerely need more support and understanding from the local government."

He says recruiting talent is key to expanding the company's progress in foreign markets.

"We are paying lots of attention to developing our teams in management, marketing and technology," he says. "Only when we make good use of our talent in different areas can we successfully blend into the international market."

He says the company needs more support from the local government in terms of financing and fair trading.


(China Daily Africa Weekly 01/16/2015 page20)

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