The people of Ecuador are rising up to refound their country as a pluri-national homeland for all. This inspiring movement, with Ecuador's indigenous peoples at its heart, is part of the revolution spreading across the Americas, laying the groundwork for a new, fairer, world. Ecuador Rising aims to bring news and analysis of events unfolding in Ecuador to english speakers.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Chinese Firm to Build Hydroelectric Dam in Ecuador

QUITO – The Ecuadorian government signed a contract with Chinese firm Sinohydro to build the massive Coca-Codo-Sinclaire hydroelectric dam in the Amazon region.

The agreement was signed by President Rafael Correa and representatives of the Chinese consortium in a ceremony at the presidential palace in Quito.

The dam is considered to be the largest investment project in Ecuador and it is forecast to be finished in about five years and require an investment of around $2 billion.

“This is an historic day” for Ecuador, said Correa, emphasizing the signing of the accord and remarking that “today, a second phase is being inaugurated for the country” with a project that will allow electricity to be provided for the entire population and competition to be improved.

Sinohydro will undertake the construction of the dam, 15 percent of which will be financed by Ecuador and 85 percent through a loan from China’s Export-Import Bank.

China’s ambassador in Ecuador, Cai Runguo, who attended the ceremony, said that the accord for the financing of the project would be finalized in November.

The envoy also expressed the willingness of the Chinese government and its investors to support Ecuador and remarked that: “Where others see risk, we see opportunities and this country has many growth opportunities.”

The dam will be constructed in the Amazon province of Napo, in the east-central part of the country, and it is predicted that it will provide electricity to 75 percent of Ecuador and have a power generation capacity of 1,500 MW.

Strategic Sectors Minister Galo Borja said that with the new hydroelectric plant, Ecuador will be able to stop buying expensive electricity from Colombia and Peru.

The government in Quito predicts that the construction of the plant will create about 4,000 direct jobs and 15,000 indirect ones, promising that 100 percent of the unskilled positions will go to area residents.

“This project has the full support of the Chinese government and will be carried out within the framework of a contract whose spirit is one of mutual confidence and mutual benefit,” Sinohydro vice president Li Yueping emphasized.

In addition, he mentioned that the project will be undertaken “fulfilling the commitments and respecting Ecuadorian culture and tradition.”

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