Harare - Zimbabwe signed a $400m deal with China's state-owned SinoHydro on Thursday to increase electricity production and ease daily blackouts.
The deal will mean a 400 megawatt upgrade for the Kariba Hydro power station on the Zambezi river, meeting an extra 18% of peak demand.
"We know that this project is badly needed to meet the requirement of the life of the people," said Yuzhi Wang, a SinoHydro official.
Zimbabwe production shortfall leaves residents without power for as many as 12 hours a day.
The country needs around 2,200 megawatts at peak consumption, but generates just under 1,300 megawatts thanks to increased demand, ageing equipment and a lack of investment.
"Zimbabwe and indeed the whole southern African region faces a critical power shortage and will continue to do so in the next few years," said Victor Gapare, chairperson of the state-backed Zimbabwe Power Company.
Plans are also underway to revamp the Hwange thermal power station in the west of the country.
Follow Fin24 on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.