The recent inauguration of newly built dams with a hydroelectric plant in eastern Sudan has marked the latest accomplishment for the Belt and Road initiative in Africa, which has been driving project cargo traffic between China and African countries since 2013.
Attending the launch of the first power generating unit for the four-unit, twin-dam Upper Atbara and Setit facility was Sudan President Omar Hassan Al Bashir and officials from the Chinese government as well as contractor China International Water & Electric Corp. (CWE), a subsidiary of China Three Gorges Corp.
According to CWE, about 30 percent of Sudan’s population is expected to benefit from the electricity, drinking water and irrigation systems linked to the nearly US$ 2 billion hydropower plant and reservoir.
The construction project, which began in May 2010, has created a 3 billion-cubic-meter reservoir and will eventually have a capacity of 320 megawatts. Building the twin dams alone cost US$838 million, CWE said.
The 80-megawatt unit now feeding Sudan’s electricity grid is the first of four generating units slated to start by August.
Photo: Inauguration of the Atbara hydropower plant in Sudan