Zambia cancels $5 Billion Batoka Hydropower plant contract, seeks new tender

Batoka Hydro Power station designs
Batoka Hydro Power station designs

Energy Minister Peter Kapala says Zambia is cancelling the contract to construct the Batoka Hydro Power Plant because proper procurement methods were not followed when the deal was struck.

Mr Kapala said in an interview that the Zambezi River Authority overseeing the construction of the dam, estimated last year that the project would cost $5 billion.

“We are disengaging from that contract and we hope to re-advertise it and revisit everything that was agreed to before,” said Mr. Kapala. “Mainly, it was because of the cost, it was just too much.”

General Electric who are the main contractors had no immediate comment.

PowerChina who are also working on the project did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Work on the 2,400-megawatt Batoka Gorge project was initially scheduled to begin in 2020, but it encountered several delays, including the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and difficulties in securing funding.

“The latest information is that the hydrology of Zambezi might not favor the establishment of a 2,400 megawatt hydro-plant,” Mr. Kapala said.

“We could reach that if maybe we do a hybrid of solar and hydro itself, but the indications are that we could be looking at far much less than the 2,400, it could be maybe even 1,000 megawatts.”

Zambia and Zimbabwe jointly selected General Electric and Power China to build the plant.

Gloria Magombo, Zimbabwe’s secretary for energy and power development, on Wednesday said she was unaware of Mr. Kapala’s comments and the Ministry would respond at a later stage.


  1. They are swift to cancel such huge contracts but when it comes to Forest 27 and Lower Zambezi mining issues they drag their feet.
    This project should have never been initiated in the first place we should have invested in a solar power…when Kariba up stream is dry and levels are low the same will happen to Batoka plant…we are simply putting our eggs in one basket.
    The Golmud Solar Park in China is the world’s largest solar farm with an installed solar capacity of 2.8 GW and costs $2.2 billion completed in October 2020…its twice as cheap as Batoka and able to produce more clean reliable energy.

    • Agree solar is the way of the future, stop giving money and jobs to useless Chinaman and put the Zambian people present and future into debt.

    • The zambezi river is a all year river and water flows have been consistent for the past hundred years……..

      Kariba hydro is what is over used by 2 countries with out proper monitoring……..

      Solar energy is difficult in developing countries………storing the energy on a massive scale for night use is the problem…….

      People think solar energy is the answer , that is not the case.

      That is why hydo dams are still being built.

    • Spaka – You seem to be caught up in your own delusional world…you have even forgotten about primary school science; water cycle. Kariba is just one drought season away from loadshedding…if you have poor rainfall whether you monitor the level or not you will still not open all the flood gates to operate at full capacity. Which developing country is having chellenges using solar energy? In the UK they have been trailing a system where they have been tweaking the solar inverters to produce electricity at night using the heat released from the cells hence able to balance fluctutions in the national grid.

    • Tarino…..

      Ati water cycle ???
      That water cycle of kariba has been average over the hundred years.
      Some years you get less rain some you get more.

      It takes more than primary school science to understand.

      You know nothing about power storage.

      Just shut up…..before you expose your dullness

    • Spaka – So where do you think all that water comes from in Kariba dam? Why do you think the Lozis have that ceremony of moving to higher grounds?

    • The zambezi rivers flooding and drought periods has been going on for hundreds of years……….

      Climate change is over hyped.
      Kariba dam has been over used.
      Solar energy is not as efficient as hydro.
      Given a choice , a country would chose hydro.
      Storing solar energy in the Gwatt range in a 3rd world country is a challenge.
      That is why large solar energy projects are few and far between in Africa.

  2. This project has been overtaken by climate change and new renewable energy sources that could be bought to market faster and cheaper. Better cancel it for good and let the site become a tourist attraction.

    • Nichekeleko by HH.
      “we hope to re-advertise it and revisit everything that was agreed to before,” said Mr. Kapala. We hope? Hope? At this stage of cancellation?

  3. How do you singularly cancel a contract that involves another country honestly.what is this government upto. This is embarrassing. If the issues raised are genuine then we expect a joint announcement by both parties or countries involved.

    • I would be sceptical with the Zimbabwean side pleading innocence………..

      It is just not possible to cancel such a large joint project without the other side knowing

  4. The Batoka gorge dam is a total waste. Its Zimbabwe that badly needs that dam and not Zambia.
    Zambia has surplus power and can harness close to 2,000 MW in new small hydro power plants in the Northern and luapula regions.
    Besides Zambia has signed MOU’s to develop Solar power to the tune of 5000+ MW

  5. This looks like another chipantepante act. Who wants to spend money just on cancellation?
    It’s now June, have they taken over Walvis Bay Port from JN. No, would have cost us more to cancel a running contract. Same here, no balance.

  6. Politicians Politicians Politicians …they’re Siemens twins…all they worry about is “nichekeleko” and filling up their pockets…””revisit and renegotiate”….someone wants to chew…..General Electric is not a small company…..Bandit Lungu and Bandit HH just the same criminals

  7. Ichilema wants to give it to hos friends. Unfortunately Ichilema does not seem to care about the cost of contract cancellation for as log as he HHis giving contracts to his friends and cadres.

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