The African Development Bank (AfDB) pledges support for the under-construction 2,400 MW Batoka Gorge hydro-electric joint project of Zambia and Zimbabwe.
AfDB’s Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth Sector Complex, Amadou Hott, expressed his support in Livingstone, Zambia.
He made the remark end of March while attending the 2,400-MW Batoka Gorge Hydro Electric Scheme (BGHES) investors’ conference, where stakeholders discussed progress and financial support to the scheme.
The BGHES is being constructed by the Zambezi River Authority, an organization equitably owned by the governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe, to develop, operate, monitor and maintain hydropower projects along the Zambezi River shared by the two Southern African countries.
Zambia’s Vice President and four ministers from Zambia and Zimbabwe were in attendance along with other development partners.
Addressing participants at the conference, Hott reaffirmed the Banks’s support to BGHES and its role as the lead financier of the project.
“The Bank has been working together with Zambia and Zimbabwe on major energy projects such as the transformative Itezhi Power Generation and Transmission Project, and rehabilitation of power infrastructure in Zimbabwe, among others.
The Batoka Scheme is in line with the objectives of AfDB’s New Deal on Energy for Africa.” Hott said that the target for the New Deal for universal access to energy by 2025 requires the implementation of transformative regional projects such as Batoka.
The governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe have appointed the Bank as Lead Coordinator for the project, to be implemented in partnership with other development partners.
Vice President Hott also held separate meetings with Ministers of Finance, Energy, Water and Sanitation and Mines, to discuss the progress made on the proposed Energy Sector budget support to Zambia, the way forward on the Batoka project and to update the Government of Zambia on the implementation of the New Deal on Energy.
He further held meetings with representatives of the power utility company in Zambia, ZESCO, and the Industrial Development Corporation of Zambia, the Zambezi River Authority and Copper belt Energy Corporation.
AfDB and the New Deal on Energy for Africa
Africa constitutes only about 16 percent of the global population, but 53 percent of the global population is without access to electricity. Per capita consumption of energy in Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa) is 180 kWh, compared to 13,000 kWh in the United States and 6,500 kWh in Europe.
Over 700 million Africans do not have access to clean cooking energy, and 600,000 African women and children die annually due to indoor air pollution arising from use of carbon-based fuels such as charcoal for cooking. This situation has to change if Africa is to realize the SDGs.
The African Development Bank is implementing the New Deal on Energy for Africa to Light up and power Africa, with the aspirational objective of achieving universal access to energy by 2025. The Bank will invest $12 billion in the power sector over the next five years and aims to leverage $45-50 billion from the private sector.