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Zesco in $5m WB boost

WORLD Bank has pledged about US$5 million under the global partnership on output based aid programme to enable Zesco Limited connect 22,000 low-income households with electricity.
World Bank senior energy specialist Joseph Kapika said the US$4.95 million programme expected to start in the first quarter of next year is aimed at connecting low-income areas across the country to the national grid.
Mr Kapika said the World Bank is currently finalising the programme with the power utility.
“Previously, World Bank partnered with Zesco Limited in the Access to Electricity for All programme…We want to use the success of the previous programme to connect 22,000 [households],”he said.
He said this at the just-ended  Zambia International Energy Conference being organised by Stanbic Bank,  Zesco, Rural Electrification Authority and Energy Regulation Board under the theme, “Power and renewable energy: unlocking Zambia’s investment and growth potential at 50” .
As at June 30, about 55,000 customers have been connected to the national grid under the World Bank’s Access to Electricity for All programme.
The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) in 2011 provided US$33 million loan with Zesco and Rural Electrification Authority (REA) getting US$16 million and US$17 million, respectively.
An additional US$10 million was provided to Zesco through the credit crisis window to subsidise power connection to consumers.
Mr Kapika said the bank has also provided support towards the upgrading of the Kafue town-Muzuma-Victoria Falls transmission line to 330 kilovolts from 220 kilovolts.
The project to be completed in two years’ time is expected to boost electricity trade between Zambia and the region.
“World Bank provided US$110 million to improve capacity and reliability of Zesco’s transmission infrastructure that facilitates regional trade,” he said.