Powering Africa: Chinese Company Seeks Greater Market Share

Dongfang Electric is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of electrical equipment.


China’s State-owned enterprises are run as purely commercial ventures with the top management expected to delivers results or be fired. It is therefore no surprise that many of them have over the years become international players in their domains, giving private businesses a run for their money. One of such State-owned enterprises is Dongfang Electric Corporation, DEC, also referred to as Dongfang Electric. Founded in 1958 in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, DEC also runs a research institute. 

Briefing 26 African journalists on May 23, 2017, Dongfang Electric’s Vice President, Hu Weidong, emphasised the need for efficient power and transport systems for the growth of any economy. He expressed his company’s readiness to undertake projects in Africa on Build, Operate and Transfer, BOT and Build, Operate and Own, BOO financing models. “We also help to secure soft and commercial bank-rate loans for our clients given the goodwill we enjoy from Chinese banks,” Weidong disclosed.

Yan Haiying, Deputy Director of Publicity, listed some of the projects undertaken in Africa. These include the 1,870-megawatt Gibe III Hydro Power Plant and the 120-megawatt Aysha II Wind Power Project in Ethiopia. Commissioned in December 2016, the Gibe III Dam, the third on River Oromo, is 243 metres high. It is the third-largest dam in Africa. Its completion has doubled Ethiopia’s energy supply, enough to sell to neighbouring countries. Other DEC projects are the 300-megawatt Zambia MCL Thermal Power Plant and the Hamrawein Clean Coal Power Plant in Egypt. The firm has also undertaken several projects in Ghana, Nigeria and over 100 power contracts in 20 nations. Meanwhile, DEC is to construct a 1-Billion US Dollar (about 587 Billion FCFA) 20-km metro line in Alexandria, Egypt.

Dongfang Electric is the world’s largest manufacturer of electrical equipment for hydro and nuclear plants. It also produces electric vehicles, train coaches and water desalination equipment. DEC was selected by the Chinese government as a National Research and Development Centre for electrical heavy-duty machinery and equipment manufacturing. It recently attained an annual production of over 80,000 megawatts of power generating equipment, consisting of hydro, thermal, nuclear, wind and combined-cycle generating units.

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