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China Is Virtually Alone in Backing Africa’s Coal Projects

The country’s involvement in coal is isolating it further from the rest of the world.

The Kariba Dam and Lake Kariba on Jan. 20.

The Kariba Dam and Lake Kariba on Jan. 20.

Photographer: Guillem Sartorio/AFP/Getty Images

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For more than two decades, Zimbabwe has been trying to break ground on a giant coal-power complex by the world’s biggest man-made reservoir. China just agreed to get the $4.2 billion project underway.

The development near the southern shore of Lake Kariba is good news for Zimbabwe, where a collapsing economy and erratic policies have deterred foreign investment for the past 20 years.