Friday, May 31, 2024

Batoka Power Station delayed


The developers of a $4 billion hydropower plant on the Zambia-Zimbabwe border delayed the project until next year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Pre-construction work on the Batoka Gorge project has been suspended for several months because of the virus and funding is still being secured, Zambezi River Authority spokesman Fitzgerald Muchindu said in an emailed response to questions.

Work on the 2,400-megawatt facility had been scheduled to start in 2020.

“The authority and the developer are doing everything possible to expedite the outstanding pre-construction activities with a view to commence construction works at the earliest possible time,” Mr. Muchindu said in emailed responses to questions.

“Construction activities are currently projected to commence towards the end of 2022.”

Zimbabwe and Zambia in 2019 chose General Electric Co. and Power Construction Corp. of China to build the plant on the Zambezi River.

Both southern African nations struggle with electricity shortages because of poorly maintained equipment and droughts that curb output at existing hydropower facilities on the river.

In February, the two nations delayed planned upgrades to Kariba Dam, their main source of electricity.

Mr. Muchindu said talks are under way with domestic pension funds in Zambia and Zimbabwe to raise capital for the project.

“These discussions will be firmed upon once the optimization of the scheme, which will inform the actual projects, is completed,” he said, without providing further details.

He said Trade and Development Bank, a Bujumbura, Burundi-based multilateral lender, has been appointed as the lead arranger for financing on the project.



  1. Muchindu has downplayed the worker unrest that the project has experienced. Perhaps we should consider to make it mandatory for projects that take more than a year to deliver to provide for the variation of the cost of labour by an average 35% per annum. Workers can’t be expected to receive static wages for the duration of the contract. This project has experienced several work stoppages and they can’t be downplayed because the lost man hours also delay the project because they can’t be easily recovered. Usually the role of labourers is downplayed even the negotiations, but how do planners and financiers expect to execute projects with labour?

  2. For $4.1 billion Ethiopia built a 4,600 plus Magawatt dam. Pa Zed prices are higher for low power output dams. Imagine $4 billion for 2,400 megawatts. Do the math. We can all guess were the extra money goes.

  3. Twende I agree with you to a certain extent. The Ethiopian dam is almost complete meaning that the costing was done a long time ago. The Batoka project has not even started meaning that the costing is based on recent or current considerations. I am sure you could have enriched your argument better

  4. Delay because of the pandemic? Nonsense. The article itself states that funding still has to be secured. In other words, they haven’t found an investor yet. And even the Chinese are not willing to step in for that, because they KNOW that the corrupt PF government will NEVER pay them back! Construction will not begin before 2050 at the earliest and loadshedding will continue unabated!

  5. KZ and corrupt PF government go away so that somebody else can serve our people with real development

  6. The Project is 25 years late and no longer worth undertaking. Just good for earning project visitation allowance

  7. I wish to conquer with twende on the cost estimates of $4billion , its too much for the size of the dam. we seriously need to ask our leaders why everything been outsourced is so exorbitantly expensive when it comes to costs. Why don’t we use our local government engineers and the very much capable military to do some of the projects like our friends are doing

  8. This project will not materialize on schedule coz both Zambia and Zimbabwe have huge economic challenges. Firstly the existing Kariba Dam is supposed to have been upgraded long time ago and economic sense does it make to embark on a new huge project yet we have failed to work on the upgrade at a much lower cost. Zambia is on record of falling behind meeting its obligations on the Kazungula bridge project shared with Botswana. And looking at the location of the Batoka Hydro Project its cost not making sense. Its near railway line and road network and dam won’t be as huge as the Kariba even construction of power transmission line infrastructure wont be very long to feed into the national grid. Another factor is Zambia is struggling to meet its international debt obligations and which…

  9. For the same money you can get a much bigger solar project – constructed in less than 6 months, Hydro is out and Batoka was a nice idea 25 years ago – but no more. Scrap the project and go solar…!

  10. Really laughable….you can not repay a $42 million EUROBOND coupon even defaulted twice now you are talking about sourcing funding $4 BILLION ….Please Bar man give this foooool here another drink on me!!

  11. $4 billion buys a lot of solar panels made in Zambia for Zambians by Zambians, look at the huge solar projects in Australia for much cheaper suppling 4x the output of Kariba Dam no damage to the area and works year round, 10 hours a day. Zambians wake up , forget about Zimbabwe lets get Zambians working and solar power for the nation. if Australia can do it why not us?

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