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ZESCO, the Zambian power utility firm, and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) have signed a $285mn credit facility to finance the construction of a 330 kV line and two substations in Eastern and Northern provinces
The credit facility will finance the construction of a 684km power line from Pensulo substation in Serenje, Central Zambia, to a proposed substation in Kasama (Northern Province) and from Pensulo substation through Msoro to another proposed substation in Chipata West (Eastern Province). It will be paid back in 20 years.
According to the former Energy and Water Development minister Kenneth Konga (the Zambian Parliament and government has been dissolved in readiness for elections on September 20), the construction of the project is vital as it demonstrates government’s resolve to increase access to energy countrywide.
The project which is expected to kick off before October this year will create 1,000 direct jobs and 2,000 indirect jobs through supply linkages.
Increased access to power is key to facilitating the availability of sustainable forms of energy to promote integrated development, which will enhance the cross-sectoral linkages between the energy sector and other sectors such as agriculture, trade and industry, transport, information and communication technology,” Mr. Konga elaborated.
The government is committed to promoting more investment in the country’s energy sector to accelerate infrastructure development and the management of the resource to foster economic growth and make electricity available to all.
And ZESCO chairman Kwalela Lamaswala said the expansion and improvement of the company’s transmission network is a critical investment in achieving the company’s long-term goal of efficient grid expansion, reinforcement and extension of southern Africa’s regional interconnectivity.
ZESCO has launched a deferred payment scheme to make it easier and affordable for customers in electrified areas to access its connection.
Mr. Mupwaya said the project, once completed, will make it possible for his company to tap into the eastern African and Malawian electricity markets.
By Nawa Mutumweno