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Alba Iulia
Friday, February 21, 2020

Delays to the Batoka Gorge Power project cost Zambia and Zimbabwe $45billion

Economy Delays to the Batoka Gorge Power project cost Zambia and Zimbabwe $45billion

Flood gates on the Kariba Dam wall between Zimbabwe and Zambia open ceremonially on February 20, 2015 after the two neighbors signed $294 million in deals with international investors - JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images
Flood gates on the Kariba Dam wall between Zimbabwe and Zambia open ceremonially on February 20, 2015 after the two neighbors signed $294 million in deals with international investors – JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images

The delayed construction of Batoka Gorge Power plant, a 2,400Mw hydroelectric scheme joint venture between Zambia and Zimbabwe, has cost the two countries more than $45 billion in missed economic opportunities, the World Bank has said.

Initially mooted in 1992, the project was stalled due to an impasse between the two countries over a $71 million debt accrued by Zimbabwe emanating from shared costs of the construction of Kariba Dam and associated infrastructure during the tenure of the colonial era Central African Power Corporation (CAPCO).

CAPCO was co-owned by Zimbabwe and Zambia during the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. It was disbanded in 1987 and later succeeded by the Zambezi River Authority.

The World Bank’s Cooperation in International Waters in Africa (CIWA) fund — which was central in facilitating resolution of the deadlock and analysing the foregone benefits associated with delayed implementation — said “the missed opportunity amounted to an estimated $7 billion in foregone electricity sales and an overall economic loss of over $45 billion”.

The project was resurrected after Zimbabwe cleared the debt in 2014 with construction work expected to commence in January next year once a financing structure has been established.

The Batoka plant is expected to take six years to complete with total costs estimated in the region of $3 billion.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. why should we Zambians be belling out Zimbabwe ? we all remember just after their independence when times were good for them and we were in dire need, how badly they treated us. Their immigration dpt specifically targeted Zambians, their citizens continually taunted and degraded our Zambia mothers, sisters and brothers who were trying to make ends meet by buying trade items in Zimbabwe. Even today they have a superiority complex over us not realising their fall from grace was much more rapid then ours.

  2. This is how the petty squabbles of the PF leadership has kept Zambia poor!

    Sata and his ‘no vision’ Jamesoni Lungu have been too busy suppressing the opposition voice, fighting with Chiefs, renaming airports, creating new districts, creating by-elections and traveling on “medical tourism trips” to do the job that the Zambian people elected them to do!

    2016 is too late! Zambia needs to fire these incompetents before they cost the country ANOTHER USD 45 BILLION!

  3. @Patrick, falling is falling whether rapid or slowly. In fact, Zimbabwe can even be happy because they are coning from there while we are getting there. However, I agree with you. We should not be borrowing to facilitate these guys responsibilities. Recently , we again borrowed on there behalf to mend the Kariba dam. I am sure the guys sit up there and lough at our idiocy.

    • @Me, has the Kariba dam been mended yet? Oh – and by the way, is it drought or a broken Kariba dam wall? Just thinking aloud…

    • @ Kalok, If the dam was mended, it could have been ZNBC news for the whole year and I am sure a documentary would have been done. Whether it is a cracked dam or drought, I have no idea all I know is that FRA has been directed to export bumper harvest of rain fed maize.

    • Ummm, @Me – you have a very good point. Perhaps at this point we should find out whether the funds for the dam wall were paid to the rainmakers after all… could be cheaper than sourcing cement.

  4. It is incompetence on Zesco part with most likely corruption by PF by way of commission paid by the supplier of the new generators to rush to install extra generators with out feasibility studies.

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