Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Power Project beneficial to Africa

 Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Power Project beneficial to Africa

By Staff Writer
Minister of Finance and National Planning Situmbeko Musokotwane says the development of the Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Power Project is not only significant to Zambia and Zimbabwe but to Southern Africa as a whole.

Mr Musokotwane said it will help ameliorate electricity generation by addressing increasing future demand.

Speaking in South Africa yesterday during the meeting on the Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Scheme hosted by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA), he said Zambia is working on ramping up mining production over the next ten 10 years to 3 million tonnes from the current 800,000 tonnes and that this will require enhanced electricity supply.

He said projects such as the Batoka Gorge are critical and that despite the significant delays that have been experienced, Zambia is resolved to actualizing it.

Dr Musokotwane said that what was important was that as stakeholders work on developing financing options, they acknowledge the constrained fiscal space of the two countries to support the project in terms of direct borrowing or issuance of finance guarantees.

“As you may already know, Zambia is currently in debt distress and engaging its creditors for a possible debt restructuring. With compromised debt carrying capacity, the preference will be financing options that do not place a financial burden on the two countries. I am confident that, with the assistance of the Bank, we can develop innovative financing options that will lead to the project’s actualization.

“While the project holds promise for the whole region, its realization depends on the two countries. We are, therefore, keen to be apprised on the outcome of the technical meeting more especially in relation to the proposed project structure and road map,” Dr. Musokotwane said.

And Zambezi River Authority (ZRA), Council of Ministers Chairperson for 2023,Peter Kapala said Zambia and Zimbabwe remain committed to drawing equal social and economic benefits from the development of the Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Project, or any other project which may be developed along the stretch of the Zambezi River which forms a common border between the two sister Republics.

Eng Kapala, who is also Zambia’s Minister of Energy, said he is hopeful that the Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Project will be commissioned by 2031 or much earlier as per Integrated Resource planning (IRL).

This is contained in a statement issued by Tamara Nyirenda First Secretary Press and Public Relations Zambia High Commission to South Africa.