ZAMBIA is among the few African countries which benefited from the euro 1.1 billion investment loans released by the European Investment Bank (EIB) last year which contributed to projects such as rehabilitation of the Itezhi-Tezhi Dam.
EIB regional representative for Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean Carmelo Cocuzza said in an interview that about euro 50 million was loaned to Zambia to construct the Itezhi-Tezhi dam.
Mr Cocuzza said the construction of the Itezhi-Itezhi dam and reservoir under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) was signed between ZESCO and TATA of India.
He said the loan signed in 2012 benefited both Zesco and TATA companies.
“Zambia benefitted from this amount through the construction a hydropower plant at the existing Itezhi-Tezhi dam and reservoir (PPP through a Joint Venture between TATA and ZESCO), and transmission infrastructure to transport the generated electricity to the grid,” he said.
Mr Cocuzza explained that the grant was mainly for transmission on infrastructure.
He said his bank was in discussion with Zesco for further technical assistance to support more projects in Zambia’s energy sector.
He also said EIB contributed euro 80 million towards the rehabilitation of the Great East Road project which cost euro 246.6 million.
Mr Cocuzza explained that the project contributed to the improvement of the Nacala Corridor, a road and rail connector.
He said the corridor offered a shorter route for Zambian exports and imports than current alternative routes through the ports of Durban or Dar-es- Salaam and thereby has the potential for a substantial reduction in transport costs for long distance freight.
Meanwhile, Mr Cocuzza said that the EIB was considering having a representation in the Southern region including Zambia.
He said the bank would soon announce its presence in Zambia and Mozambique.
“We have started expanding across Africa from the time we started working on certain projects. We will may be in the next two years open offices in Zambia and other African countries; we will soon make an announcement for our representation in Zambia and Mozambique,” he said.
Mr Cocuzza also said the bank had recently introduced loans of euro 500 million which allowed EIB to invest in agriculture and other productive sectors.