World Bank loan to ease Zambia power crisis

power  TheAlieness GiselaGiardinoThe Zambian government and the World Bank have signed an agreement for the implementation of a project worth more than US$56mn which will help reduce power shortages in the country

The Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation Limited (Zesco) will implement the project within two years.

Finance minister Alexander Chikwanda, who signed the agreement, said, “The deal will provide relief to the power transfer bottlenecks on the line and improve the reliability of Zesco’s regional power trade transmission network infrastructure."

The financing agreement is for the Kafue-Muzuma-Victoria Falls power transmission line reinforcement project and is worth US$56.5mn.

The project, which is expected to help in filling the gaps in the power requirements, will also provide a link between Kafue West with the Kariba North Bank Extention 330kV transmission line.

Chikwanda said the project would form a vital part of the planned regional interconnection between Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia.

“The growth in demand for electricity has outstripped supply as evidenced by increased load shedding. Access to electricity has remained low at 21.9 per cent of households at national level and only 4.5 per cent in rural areas,” he said, adding that to curb the problem of load shedding, Zesco was implementing a power sector plan, which included substantial capital expenditures for investments in new generation and transmission projects.

World Bank country director for Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi, Kundhavi Kadiresan, said Zambia has great potential to further develop the resource-rich economy through infrastructure improvements, especially in the energy sector.

She added that the government had taken significant actions to improve the performance of the sector and national utility, Zesco.

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