GOVERNMENT will soon conclude an agreement with the Japanese government under which a US$50 million credit line will be provided to support identified projects in the rural electrification master plan.
Energy and Water Development Minister, Kenneth Konga said the long-awaited rural electrification master plan had been completed and would be launched soon.
Mr Konga said officials from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) arrived in the country yesterday to appraise the project.
The minister was speaking in Lusaka yesterday when he officiated at the inauguration of the second board of directors for the Rural Electrification Authority (REA).
Mr Konga said the Government was also expected to sign a grant agreement with the Swedish government under which that country would provide more than US$30 million to the rural electrification fund to support rural electrification projects over the next five years.
He said the development of mini hydro power stations in areas where the potential exists had been identified as one of the methods of rural electrification.
Mr Konga urged REA to seek alternative sources of energy supply for rural electrification.
“In the current environment of a power deficit situation, we need to look at all the available renewable energy sources and utilise them to the fullest to meet the electricity needs of our rural population,” he said.
Mr Konga also said the financing instruments that were being arranged by the Government were in addition to the electricity levy and other financing mechanisms provided for by the Rural Electrification Act of 2003.
At the same meeting, newly-elected REA board chairperson, Patrick Wanjelani said the authority would work towards achieving its objectives as provided for in the Act.
Mr Wanjelani said there was need for various stakeholders such as the Government and cooperating partners to cooperate if the REA projects were to be successful.
In October, the Government signed an agreement with the World Bank under which a US$ 33 million credit line would be availed to support electrification programme in Zambia.
About US$19 million of the credit will go towards supporting rural electrification projects which will include grid extensions, installation of solar photovoltaic systems and construction of mini-hydros.
Another 10 million euros grant from the European Union will also be availed to support rural electrification projects.
[Times of Zambia]