The African Development Bank (AfDB), the European Union (EU), the Swedish Embassy to Zambia and the World Bank Group (WBG) today signed agreements with the Governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe to initiate financing for the rehabilitation of the Kariba Dam.
The Kariba Dam was constructed across the Zambezi River between 1956 and 1959 and has been central to regional energy security and economic development ever since. After more than 50 years of providing power for the Southern African Region, the Kariba Dam is now in urgent need of rehabilitation to ensure its continued safe operation. A program of civil works conducted over the next ten years has been prepared, taking into account the need to continue operating the dam safely with minimal interruptions to power generation. Specifically, the rehabilitation works will include the reshaping of the dam’s plunge pool and refurbishment of its spillway, as well as improvements in dam operations.
Today’s signing ceremony took place at the dam and was facilitated by the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA), the bi-national organization that manages the Dam on behalf of the two Governments and will be responsible for implementing the rehabilitation project. Chiefs from the Siavonga area were present, as well as senior government representatives, representatives from the financing partners and Ambassadors from the EU Member States.
The international financing made available includes US$75m in grants and loans from the Africa Development Bank, a US$100 million grant from the European Union, , a grant of US$25 million from the Swedish Government, and a credit of US$75 million from the World Bank
Speaking in his keynote address, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers for the ZRA and the Minister of Energy, Mines and Water Development from Zambia, Christopher Yaluma, said the signing ceremony was embedded in a long tradition of diplomatic cooperation between Zambia and Zimbabwe around the development of the shared resources of the Zambezi River.
“We are grateful to our development partners for their cooperation in mobilizing financial support. I would also like to acknowledge the contributions from the two countries and the commitment of the ZRA in financing the necessary technical preparations, coordinating the development partners and allocating US$19.2 million in counterpart funding,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of AfDB, Resident Representative Mateus Magala said, “ It is not often that when a project is conceptualized, the President of the African Development Bank is the first to visit the country to hear and understand the objectives, technicalities and challenges first hand. Kariba Dam is an important regional asset that affects, the lives not only of Zambian and Zimbabwean citizens, but those of the citizens of the countries in the Zambezi River Basin, as well as of countries connected to the Southern Africa Power Pool. The Bank is pleased to be involved in delivering this enormous benefit to the region and commends the project team for its innovativeness in mobilising the resources through a blend of loans, grants and special grants from the partners.”
LenaNordström, Sweden’s Ambassador to Zambia said, “With this support, Sweden seek to contribute to increased employment opportunities in rural and peri-urban areas. We realize that increased employment and improved entrepreneurship opportunities requires reliable energy.”
The EU Ambassador to Zambia, H.E. Gilles Hervio, reiterated the EU’s commitment to ensuring Zambia’s energy security and noted that “This project aims to ensure people's safety in the first place and prevent one of the potentially world's worst disasters and will allow this dam to continue to provide a large part of the electricity for Zambia and Zimbabwe. This clearly shows its importance for human wellbeing and economic development of the region.”
Kundhavi Kadiresan, World Bank Country Director for Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe told the gathering that the World Bank’s support to the rehabilitation project reflects a long association with the Kariba Dam and an important continuing partnership with the ZRA that recognizes the importance of the Kariba Dam for both Zambia and Zimbabwe, as well as the southern African region.
She said, “The World Bank Group has been working with the Zambezi River Authority for a number of years on a broad program of collaborative efforts. The rehabilitation of the Kariba Dam is part of a series of investments aimed at securing access to energy and fostering economic growth in Zambia and Zimbabwe. We are pleased to be here today for this next step in our cooperation and to continue to facilitate a unique partnership between the two countries as we work together to rehabilitate this important shared infrastructure that so many people rely on”
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