28 December 2012

AfDB and Zambian Government Sign Us $55-Million Loan Agreement for Itezhi-Tezhi Hydropower Project

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The African Development Bank and the Government of the Republic of Zambia signed, on December 19, a loan agreement for US $55 million to support the Itezhi-Tezhi Hydro Power and Transmission Line Project through the construction and operation of a 120 megawatt hydropower plant at Itezhi-Tezhi dam along the Kafue River. This loan was approved by the Bank's Board of Executive Directors on June 13, 2012.

The loan agreement was signed by the Zambian Minister of Finance, Alexander Chikwanda, on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Zambia, and Freddie Kwesiga, the Bank's Resident Representative to Zambia, on behalf of the African Development Bank. Gilbert Mbesherubusa, AfDB Vice-President of Regional Integration and Trade Operations (OIVP), witnessed the signing. The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Felix Nkulukusa, and representatives from the Zambia Electricity Supply Cooperation and Itezhi-Tezhi Power Cooperation, in addition to staff from the Bank's Zambia Field Office were present.

In his remarks, Chikwanda recognized that the "AfDB has been a significant partner to Zambia, providing support in infrastructure, and strengthened management systems in various sectors." He stressed that the Government of the Republic of Zambia "continues to value these contributions and expects that the partnership between the Bank and Zambia will grow and that opportunities to further this cooperation will present themselves."

Once completed, this project will significantly increase Zambia's power supply, which at the moment stands at 1,800 megawatts. This increase in electricity generation and distribution will serve to reduce the erratic supply, which usually takes the form of load-shedding and will contribute to providing much-needed energy to complement Zambia's fast-growing economy.

The Bank's Mbesherubusa highlighted the importance of this milestone agreement: one of Zambia's first Public Private Partnerships in the energy sector. He underscored Zambia's hydro potential, which is an opportunity for Zambia to transition the sub-region into a low carbon growth path. He reiterated that this project will improve the reliability of electricity supply and enhance energy security in Zambia while at the same time supporting economic growth and social development, increasing the country's potential to export power and ultimately promote regional integration.

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