AN ADMINISTRATIVE agreement of US$28 million has been signed by the Swedish Embassy and the World Bank, as part of the ongoing preparations for support to the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) for the Kariba Dam rehabilitation.
The funds are part of a broader package of financing being considered by the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the European Union, estimated at US$294.2 million.
The project is aimed at assisting the authority in improving the safety and reliability of the Kariba Dam by supporting the reshaping of the plunge pool, refurbishment of the spillway and enhancing operations to bring them in line with international dam safety standards.
During the signing ceremony, Sweden’s Ambassador to Zambia, Lena Nordström said, “Access to secure and sustainable energy is a key priority for development cooperation in the country.”
She said the consequences of a dam failure would be a serious setback for efforts to reduce poverty and to the impressive economic development of Zambia in recent years, making swift rehabilitation of the dam is the only available course of action.
Upon signing, the country director of the World Bank Group, Kundhavi Kadiresan said, “We are pleased that the intensive work that the technical teams have been doing for the last few years has finally come together with this programme of rehabilitation for the Kariba dam.”
Dr Kadiresan said reliable power generation is needed to meet the ever increasing demands of the region.
“The work between Zambia and Zimbabwe on the Kariba rehabilitation, and collaboration by the partners, has paved the way for further collaboration on harnessing energy sources between the two countries and driving transformational changes that can impact the lives of the people in the sub-region,” she said.
The ZRA is the bi-national organisation managing the Zambezi River on behalf of the governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The co-financing from Sweden will be provided to the ZRA through a dedicated trust fund administered by the World Bank.
The Kariba Dam and hydro-electricity scheme were constructed across the Zambezi River between 1956 and 1959 and have been central to energy security and supporting economic development in Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Zambia Daily Mail