25 March 2014

Zambia: AfDB, EU, World Bank to Fund Kariba Dam Rehab

Photo: IRIN
Kariba Dam - One of the world's Biggest Dams Under Threat

THE African Development Bank (AfDB), World Bank and European Union (EU) are expected to raise about US$250 million for rehabilitation of the Kariba Dam.

AfDB and the Word Bank will together raise a total of $150m while the EU, will provide $100m for the rehabilitation programme.

European Union ambassador and head of delegation Gilles Hervio said the EU was looking at financing between US$85 million and US$100 million for the rehabilitation of the Kariba Dam once the proposal was finalised and a decision is made by the EU headquarters in June.

Mr Hervio said the Government of Zambia had requested the EU, the World Bank and AfDB to support the Zambezi River Authority with the rehabilitation of the Kariba Dam.

In an interview in Lusaka yesterday, Mr Hervio said the EU was in principle, looking favourably into the Government's request and may support the reshaping of the plunge pool.

"This support will be a grant and the Banks may provide subsidised loans. The works will entail the construction of a temporary dam (Kofferdam) so that the plunge pool can be emptied, the base of the dam reinforced and the riverbed reshaped to better absorb the energy from the flood waters released through the spill gates," he said.

The EU delegation was currently discussing the technical and financial details with Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) and the Ministry of Finance and other donors involved.

Mr Hervio said it was important that the government of Zimbabwe was involved in the financing discussions as well.

"Once all technical and financial details have been worked out, the EU will take a final decision on whether it can and will finance the projects and at which level. The delegation expects a proposal to be finalised by the end of June for the decision by the EU Headquarters in the autumn to be made," he said.

Speaking in a separate interview yesterday, AfDB country representative Freddie Kwesiga said the Bank together with the World Bank were expected to raise about US$150 million for the project.

Dr Kwesiga said the Bank had started mobilising the resources to help support rehabilitation of the Kariba Dam.

Dr Kwesiga said they were looking seriously at joining the World Bank and the European Union to finance the rehabilitation of the dam.

"We are mobilising the resources because it is for the good of the public. 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 support the project.

He also said it was important that the governments of Zimbabwe join in the financing discussions.

The works involves reshaping the plunge pool and the refurbishment of the flood or spill gates.

These works have become necessary after 55 years wear and tear and cannot be addressed through regular maintenance.

And in a joint statement with the World Bank, ZRA public relations and communication manager Elizabeth Karonga said they are currently updating the Emergency Preparedness Plan for the Lower Zambezi and also enhancing its internal processes and procedures for preparedness.

Ms Karonga said ZRA takes this opportunity to re-assure the public and all stakeholders that there was no need to panic as the situation was under control.

"ZRA will continue to fulfill its mandate of monitoring, maintenance and taking corrective measures to protect the dam and ensure its safety," she said.

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