French engineering firm Razel-Bec has started works on the Kariba Dam whose wall is swelling, raising the risk of cracks in the structure.
A check at the dam this week, found workers busy mobilizing equipment and creating an access road to the plunge pool.

Works include reshaping and stabilising the 80+ metre deep plunge pool and refurbishing the six floodgates.

According to a 2015 report by global risk managers AON, a collapse of the dam could pose a risk to 3.5 million people in Zambia and Zimbabwe as well as Malawi and Mozambique further downstream.In February, Razel-Bec was awarded a contract by Zambia and Zimbabwe to perform dam safety repairs at the 1,830-MW Kariba hydroelectric plant.

Erosion under 128-meter tall, 579-meter long dam has created swelling along its face and fear that the structure could eventually fail.

Should Kariba Dam break, the dam would threaten more than 3.5 million people in Zambia and Zimbabwe, as well as residents further down the Zambezi River in Mozambique and Malawi.

The repairs will be overseen by the Zambezi River Authority using a US$294 million funding package.

The financing, which includes money from ZRA, the African Development Bank, European Union, Swedish government and World Bank Group, was announced in September 2015 but not finalized until sometime in January.

The European Union would provide $100 million, the World Bank $75 million, the African Development Bank $36 million grant and $39 million loan while Sweden will offer $20 million with the balance of the $294 million repairs to be paid by Zambia and Zimbabwe, the two countries through their jointly owned Zambezi River Authority.

The deal will allow Razel-Bec to reshape the plunge pool beneath Kariba and make repairs to the dam’s spillway.

ZRA officials said they expect work on the plunge pool to be complete by 2021, and work on the spillway to be finished in 2022.

The Kariba Dam was built in the 1950s.

Razel-Bec is the civil works division of the Fayat Group of France.

It has built several dams in France, Algeria and Cameroon.

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20 COMMENTS

    • Create work for the locals first then Zambians. It would make a lot of sense that way. Of course the surperviors and other Head of Dept can be from France-No problem.

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    • @1 EB Hibalwa… Preps for this project started a long time ago, during Mwanawasa’s time!! I think it took this long due the nature of financing involving many players including the difficult economic situation in Zimbabwe! ECL’s part is very minimal if anything! IFF ECL is serious let him channel his efforts to other sources of electric energy RATHER THAN THE DUBIOUS RUSSIAN NUCLEAR REACTORS he is insisting on!

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    • @Zambiasours, it’s irresponsible to provide inaccurate information like you are doing. The Kariba Rehabilitation Project was presented & approved by the Worldbank on 9 December 2014. This is publicly available information. President Mwanawasa was long dead by then (MHSRIP). for me it doesn’t matter anyway because it’s GRZ regardless of who heads it. Your hate of the current President, however, will consume you. There are many positive things happening in Zambia that you will miss just because you are looking @ personalities. Any GRZ has responsibility to look after national assets & uplift lives of Zambians during their tenure. Our focus should be to make them accountable for that rather than hate them. God Bless Zambia

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    • @1.3 The Chosen one, You are WRONG, the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) had long identified the need to carry out repairs on the dam way before 2014!! If it was presented to the World Bank in 2014, does NOT MEAN that is when the preparations started!! That is only when they presented the problem for external financing after the two Governments agreed to look for external assistance! For your own information and wisdom you should NOT equate genuine criticism or statement of negative facts about President Lungu as hatred!! I harbor NO HATRED against him, I was one of those who believed he would do well in his SECOND AND FULL MANDATE AFTER 2016.I’M NOW DISILLUSIONED WITH HIS ABYSMAL PERFORMANCE! IS IT NOT TRUE THAT HE WANTS NUCLEAR REACTORS AT THE EXPENSE OF CHEAPER, EASIER,SOLAR,WIND and…

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  1. One PIERS wrote on this forum that the long lasting solution for safeguarding this dam is to put spills that will will channel water away from the wall. Something like sideways channels that would throw excess water away from the foot of the dam, then that would overcome erosion forever. Hope the contractor had seen that or Piers and our Experts in Government will take time to exchange views on that one!

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  2. I tbought work had already started…at no Chines as they are not funding, am just surprised GRZ can not fund this $294m Project when they are happy to procure overpriced Fire Trucks and Ambulances.

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  3. True, leave President Lungu alone! Personally I love President Lungu because he has provided opportunities that others have not and will never. I dont know the President personally neither does he but honestly speaking he is a man that has opened up doors beyond measure and those who can tap in his relentless leadership will always be building a very strong base for themselves. I keep telling people that President Lungu is a unique man who has every corner of Zambia seeing that there is a Government. Please guys, move around Zambia and see the opportunities the PF has brought on board.

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    • Be careful with the use of the word love.You don’t know the man personally but you love him? Are you gay like Mmembe?
      Rubbish, the only opportunities he has created are for easterners and Northerners.

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  4. I went to ZCBC and NIEC stores and found them selling some “animo” meat. There was a specimen of a live animo which they had its lips painted in lipstick. The animo was a dunki. It reminded me of the phrase they were using here, “putting lipstick on a pig.” GBM is decoration by a party of tribes! Unfortunately, he doesn’t know about it! We know!

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  5. Good job Zambia! To the French: All the best! To the chronic losers! You will never win an election!

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  6. Lazy bum father begat a tribalism guy who was appointed as the chairman of the Hooligans and Bully wing of the Tribal Party online!

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  7. Ati “should Kariba Dam break, the dam would threaten more than …chizungu chabwanji ichi?
    Karina dam can’t break

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  8. Well atleast it’s not the Chinese, they seem to be famous in our country, busy fixing and making things that die out in a very short time.
    Some of the roads they were building not so long ago already have pot holes.

    They are busy buying huge pieces of land all around.
    Even driving GRZ vehicles.

    This government had failed this country.
    Anyways the kariba dam project is good step. I was there recently and had a look for myself.

    It’s seen better days.
    It needs the repairs.

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  9. HaTribal Mwanawasa twist! Why don’t you just give compliments to who they are due? Dinosaurs! You will never erase the achievements of this government – NEVER!

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  10. Just wondering ,why not giving this project to zambian engineers so that they can showcase their skills.

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