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Batoka hydro-power plan takes shape

NANCY MWAPE, Victoria Falls Town
ZAMBIA and Zimbabwe have started mobilising US$4 billion required to build the Batoka Gorge hydropower stations.
About 3,000 jobs will be created during the initial phase of the construction with each country employing 1,500 people.
Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) chairperson Bryson Mbiriri said the Batoka hydro project will involve the construction of a 180-metre long roller compacted concrete arch gravity dam and two power stations with a capacity of 1,200 megawatts (MW) on both sides of the gorge.
Mr Mbiriri was addressing journalists in Victoria Falls Town, Zimbabwe, on Wednesday.
He said implementation of the project will lower the cost of power generation.
“The two ministers of finance have appointed the African Development Bank (AfDB) as the lead bank in mobilising resources for the project. We have been able to secure funding from the World Bank for studies,” he said.
Mr Mbiriri said studies relating to the technical aspects of the dam’s construction as well as the environmental and social impacts assessment are expected to be completed by the first quarter of next year.
In July this year, ZRA undertook a market sounding process to expose the project to potential investors in Europe, Asia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
“Considering the power deficit faced by the two nations, both governments want the project implemented soon and there is so much excitement from the market,” he said.
Speaking at the same event, ZRA co-chair Oscar Kalumiana said the Batoka hydro project is a huge job that requires both governments to be careful during its implementation so that no one is criticised in future.
Mr Kalumiana said the governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe are on schedule with the project and that finding the money is the most difficult part of the assignment.
ZRA chief executive officer Munyaradzi Munodawafa said the legal and technical advisors for the project have been appointed and are expected to complete their work in the second quarter of 2017.
Mr Munodawafa said traditional leaders from both Zambia and Zimbabwe have given clearance to proceed with the project.
“We have spent close to US$5 million on access roads to the site on both sides,” he said.

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