Skip to main content

Bloomberg Quint

China’s biggest bank dumped a plan to finance a $3 billion coal-fired power plant in Zimbabwe, dealing a blow to coal developers in Africa that see the Asian country as the last potential funder of their projects.

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd. told Go Clean ICBC, an ad-hoc body representing 32 environmental groups, that it won’t fund the 2,800-megawatt Sengwa coal project in northern Zimbabwe, according to a June 18 email seen by Bloomberg that was sent to, one of the Go Clean groups. ICBC didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Western and South African banks have come under increasing pressure from their shareholders not to fund developments that could contribute to climate change, leaving Chinese lenders as one of the last avenues to secure finance. That door may now be closing, should China plan to improve its own environment credentials.

“This is highly significant, obviously for Zimbabwe but also for Chinese overseas energy financing,” said Lauri Myllyvirta, lead analyst for the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air. “It is the first time, to my knowledge, that a Chinese bank has pro-actively walked away from a coal-power project.”

[Ray Ndlovu and Antony Sguazzin]

More: Biggest China Bank Abandons $3 Billion Zimbabwe Coal Plan

Join our newsletter

Keep up to date with all the latest from IEEFA