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Delayed construction of the Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Power Plant has resulted in economic losses to Zimbabwe and Zambia of at least $45 billion, the World Bank has said.

Zimbabwe and Zambia are constructing a hydro-electricity generating plant on the Batoka Gorge of the Zambezi river at a cost of an estimated $3 billion, which is expected to produce 1 600 megawatts to be shared equally between the two countries.

The Batoka hydro project was conceived in 1972 out of a study that the Central African Power Corporation (the predecessor of the Zambezi River Authority) instituted but construction was delayed due to various issues including an impasse between the two states over an outstanding, colonial-era debt.

The World Bank, through its organ, the Co-operation in International Waters in Africa (CIWA) assisted in resolving the impasse, paving way for the project to take off.

CIWA, a World Bank-financed $2 billion portfolio, helps facilitate dialogue between riparian states (countries that share rivers) to drive the development of water resources for sustainable growth.

In a paper on the Collaborative Management of the Zambezi River Basin, the bank said an analysis of the foregone benefits associated with delayed implementation showed huge economic losses to Zimbabwe and Zambia.

“The missed opportunity amounted to an estimated $7 billion in foregone electricity sales and an overall economic loss of over $45 billion,” it said.

It said current efforts were being focused on mobilising the technical and operational resources needed to advance the development of the Batoka Gorge power plant.

This includes updating engineering studies, undertaking a new environmental and social impact assessment, and conducting legal and institutional reviews of the ZRA.

“In terms of infrastructure development, the Batoka Gorge Hydro Electricity Scheme (HES) will ultimately secure the energy needs of more than 1,2 million households equally split between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

“Conjunctive operation of the Batoka Gorge HES with the existing Kariba Dam will also increase the overall energy production by 8,962 GWh per year.”

Once complete, the Batoka Hydro-electricity Plant is expected to greatly improve power supply in the two countries, which are grappling with shortages at the moment.

The proposed hydroelectric scheme is located on the Batoka Gorge on the Zambezi River, about 54 km downstream of the Victoria Falls, across the boundary between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Source:The Southern Times

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7 COMMENTS

  1. The feasibility studies for this project were done in 1996 by the Batoka Joint Venture Consultants comprising British and German Consultants but Nawakwi the then Minister of Energy shot down this project claiming that Zambia had a raw deal over the benefits of Kariba Dam project. The beauty of this project is that the water will be used twice i.e. at Batoka Gorge and Kariba Gorge as is the case with ITT and Kafue Gorge power stations. While the dam height will be designed in such a way that the Victoria Falls are not drowned but the famous white water rafting will be no more. Rather than having one power station on the Zimbabwean side as was the case with Kariba Dam it is important to have power stations on both sides with the associated infrastructure.

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  2. After the failure by our friends to honor their obligations regarding CAPCO and other joint assets that were acquired during the federation, Zambia has never had the appetite for joint projects with Zimbabwe. For this reason, Zambia has never been interested in a joint venture to develop the Batoka Gorge Power project. Instead Zambia opted to develop in-country projects that would not create unnecessary disputes, hence the Kafue Gorge II, Maamba and Intezhi Tezhi.

    Until Zimbabwe has settled all its outstanding dues to Zambia, there will be no meaningful progress on this project. Our neighbors’ thought they were too clever. Ubuchenjeshi bwa nkoko.

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  3. LOL. Interesting. Analyse this:-
    On one hand the World Bank thru CIWA is saying “The MISSED OPPORTUNITY DUE TO DELAYED CONSTRUCTION of the Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Power Plant has resulted in economic losses to Zimbabwe and Zambia amounting to an estimated $7 billion in foregone electricity sales and an overall economic loss of over $45 billion,”
    On the other hand PF’s Govt is constantly saying the current load shedding is DUE TO LOW WATER LEVELS (volumes) in Kariba Dam resulting into economic losses, i.e. Govt says as low as 15% of its capacity (2015-16 rainy season). Nothing to do with mismanagement.
    So, in other words, going by PF Govt, the missed opportunities World Bank are talking about would NOT have been achieved anyway because, for example in 2015-16 rainy season only 15%…

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    • Cont’d… 15% of the projected 1,600 MW = 240 MW of power would have been generated from Batoka Gorge. Now, divide 240MW by 2 Countries = only 120MW for Zambia. Which means 15% of the 1.2 million projected households = 180,000 households. Divide that by 2 Countries = 90,000 households for Zambia (and NOT 600,000 households as projected by World Bank).
      So, is Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Power Plant good value for money or not? Or, if indeed she ‘shot it down’ as alleged by one Senior Engineer, did Nawakwi do the right thing by looking into her crystal ball … and BANG!. ? Or, is World Bank CIWA right by indirectly saying Govt is lying about their pessimistic figures on rain in the region? The two divergent views, one from PF Govt and one from World Bank, CANNOT be both right on the same…

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    • @cactus my friend the world bank is wrong…..we cant build power stations to benefit zimbabwe.

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  4. With all the money Mugabe and Lungu has stolen is enough to fix this issue. The problem is greed and not thinking as a whole what the true benefits are and stealing for themselves and families. If those two dunderheads can come up with a sum and get a loan if they have two then yes we should not wait any longer. But alas! This is Africa for you where we wait for aid while claiming we don’t need it as in Mugabe’s case where in Zambia all Lungu seems to know is borrowing. What a classic combination.

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