Zambia will next month hold a High Level Regional Investment Conference to mobilise resources for the Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Power Scheme which is estimated to cost US$ 6 Billion and produce 2, 400 Mega Watts to be shared equally between Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Zambia’s Finance Minister Felix Mutati has disclosed that among the speakers at the Batoka Regional Investment Conference will be The President of The African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina. In May, 2016, Zambia hosted the 51st ADB Annual Meetings whose Theme was “Climate Change and Energy.”
According to the statement released to the media by Head of Public relations at the Ministry of Finance, Chileshe Kandeta, the conference will also attract Multilateral Development Financial Institutions (DFI’s), Bilateral Cooperating Partners and Local, Regional and Multinational Private Sector Organisations – with a view of marketing the financing requirements of the Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Power Scheme through the Independent Power Producer Arrangement (IPPA).
Mr. Mutati recently attended the 34th session of the Zambezi River Authority Council of Ministers Meeting in Victoria Falls Town, Zimbabwe, where the Council considered a report by the Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Power Scheme transaction advisors, Ernst and Young, and mapped out a strategy on project development. The council comprises Ministers responsible Finance and Energy from Zambia and Zimbabwe.
“During the construction phase, 6,000 jobs will be created and a further 1,200 permanent green jobs during the operational phase, split equally between both countries,” Mr. Mutati has said.
The Zambian Minister of Finance has said, upon completion, “the project will significantly increase base load power exports to the regional Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) energy generation mix,” adding that, “it will also help address the power crisis by reducing load shedding and spurring additional investment in industrial development in the region.”
Mr. Mutati affirmed that “the model being adopted will ensure that Batoka produces the cheapest power in Africa and so we are excited to get it going especially that the sovereign budgets of the two partner countries will not be affected since the project will be financed by the international market.”
Meanwhile Zambia’s Energy Minister David Mabumba has said the Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Power Scheme is key to regional integration and an important component of the diversification and industrialisation drive which the Zambian Government has embarked upon.
“To ensure that we increase our power pool for future uses and export, there is need for the Zambezi River Authority to think outside the box and explore solar and geo-thermo options for power generation,” commented Mr. Mabumba.
And Zimbabwean Minister of Finance and Economic Development Patrick Chinamasa has expressed festive gratitude at the relations between Zambia and Zimbabwe, adding that, “feasibility studies for the project are now over so it is now time to step-up resource mobilisation for the Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Power Scheme.”
“In the case of Kariba, we have found the money and rehabilitation of both the dam and the spillway will soon commence,” assured Mr. Chinamasa.
The Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Power Scheme construction phase is expected to commence in 2017/2018 under an arrangement between Zambezi River Authority [co-owned by Zambia and Zimbabwe] and international financiers. The Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Power Scheme is expected to increase power generation capacity for Zambia and Zimbabwe by a sum of 2,400 Mega Watts.
The site of the Batoka Gorge Hydro Power Scheme is located across the Zambezi River on the international boundary between the sovereign states of Zambia and Zimbabwe, 54 Kilometers downstream of the Victoria Falls. The existing Kariba Dam Hydro Electric Power Station is located upstream on the second largest man-made lake in the world, Kariba, and produces 1, 470 Mega Watts.
To ensure smooth PREPARATORY WORKS, the World Bank administered multi-donor trust fund for Co-operation International Waters in Africa in 2016 allocated finances to the project through a grant of US$6 Million. The development of the project is in three phases. Part one involves updating engineering feasibility studies, carrying out of environmental impact assessment studies, and addressing institutional legal aspects of the project. Phase two comprises resource mobilisation and tendering while phase three will involve financing support works related to construction and commissioning.
The proposed scheme includes a 181- meter high dam, radial gated crest type spillway, and two underground power stations located in each country with installed capacity of 1, 200 Mega Watts EACH [Zambian side and Zimbabwean side].