By MAIMBOLWA MULIKELELA –
THE African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved US$75 million for the rehabilitation of the Kariba Dam project.
The project aims to assist the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) in securing the long-term safety and reliability of the Kariba Dam Hydro-Electric Scheme.
The project, with total financing of US$300 million, is being co-financed by the World Bank, the European Union and the Governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The $75 million brings approved by the AfDB bring the total amount of funds approved to US$175 million following the World Bank approval of $75 million and $25 million grant by the government of Sweden.
AfDB resident representative Freddie Kwesiga disclosed in an interview in Lusaka yesterday that the Board of Excutive Directors on Monday approved a US$75 million concessional loan for the Kariba Dam rehabilitation.
This will help the ZRA which is responsible for the management of the Kariba Dam, to reshape the dam’s plunge pool and refurbish its spillways, as well as improve dam operations in order to bring it up to international safety standards.
“This follows the visit of the Donald Kaberuka the President of AfDB to Zambia in July and visit of the Board Members to Zambia and Zimbabwe as well as the visit of ambassadors and high commissioners to the Kariba dam,” he said Dr Kwesiga explained that the bank had pledged to make available $75million towards the rehabilitation of the dam because apart from Zambia and Zimbabwe it will benefit other countries in the region.
Dr Kwesiga said in approving the concessional loan, the board argued that the ZRA should have the capacity to manage the project technically, administratively and financially.
“This is a public good. About 3.5 million people live down there not only from Zambia but Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique. This has regional implications and it is very important that we have supported the project,” Dr Kwesiga said.
The works consist of the reshaping of the plunge pool and the refurbishment of the flood or spill gates.