By Nation Reporter
THE African Development Bank (AfDB) has started implementing phase one of its Batoka Gorge hydro power project on the Zambezi River between Zambia and Zimbabwe expected to add 1,600 megawatts to the national grid.
The bank has designed a three-phase Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programme for the Batoka Gorge hydro electric scheme, with the second and third phases scheduled to take place in May and June this year.
This trail-blazing transnational project had the potential to make Zambia and Zimbabwe net exporters of power across the SADC region.
The project is situated downstream of the Victoria Falls and upstream of the Kariba Dam hydro-electric scheme.
In September 2015, the governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe approached the AfDB to be the lead project financier with the World Bank as a co-financier, and both governments taking modest equity project participation.
The project’s success depends on close collaboration between the governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe.
This project is as a result of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) AfDB has been encouraging African countries to create.
These partnerships have emerged over the last decade as an innovative way to mobilize finance, enhance efficiency and improve ownership of projects.
PPPs have been particularly successful in economic (physical) infrastructure such as power, transport, telecommunications, water and sanitation.
In many African countries today, public sector deficits matched by a myriad of competing demands impede funding for infrastructure development.
Meanwhile, a PPP capacity development seminar for the hydro-power projects was currently taking place in Centurion, South Africa.
This training programme would be attended by four permanent secretaries from the Ministries of Finance and Water from Zambia and Zimbabwe as well as other management and project staff of the Batoka Gorge project.
Also attending will be board members of the Zambezi River Authority, a corporation jointly owned by the governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe.
They include representatives of the Zambian and Zimbabwean energy, power, water and finance ministries, responsible for spearheading the trans-national collaboration between the two partner countries.