Siavonga, February 21st, 2015 , ZANIS —– Government has together with neighbouring Zimbabwe signed a loan agreement from the World Bank, African Development and other cooperating partners for the rehabilitation of Kariba Dam wall to save its lifespan.
Finance and National Planning minister Alexander Chikwanda and his Zimbabwean counterpart Patrick Chinamasa signed the loan worthy 294.2 million USA dollars on behalf of the two governments.
The African Development Bank (ADB) will provide 36 million US$ dollars while Sweden will provide 25 million US$ and the other money will come from the European Union and the World Bank.
He said the two countries will continue to be a role model in fostering the regional cooperation and their economies would be boosted if they continued the spirit of working together.
The Finance Minister said the money will be used to rehabilitate the plunge pool to protect it from further erosion and will help to preserve the equipment.
Mr Chikwanda noted that it was appropriate for the two countries to move in quickly together with the cooperating partners to save Dam from further damage.
He thanked the cooperating partners for responding quickly to the request of financing the Dam rehabilitation.
The Finance Minister said the Kariba Dam wall was not only important to the two countries but also to the sub-region in the provision of electricity of about 1350 megawatts.
He said it would have required five billion USA dollars to reconstruct the new one if the current dam was allowed to collapse.
The Minister urged Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) to work hard in rehabilitating the Dam wall as there is no room for laxity.
And Mr. Chinamasa has thanked Zambia for accepting to sign the loan agreement on behalf of his country.
He said the safety of the Dam was important to the eco-system and many communities who live along the Zambezi River.
He said the rehabilitation of the Dam wall have economic benefits to the countries and the entire region in the provision of electricity that spurs development.
ZRA Chairperson Mines, Energy and Water Development Minister Christopher Yaluma said the rehabilitation will improve the plunge and the spill way facilities.
Mr Yaluma thanked the cooperating partners for coming together to fund the rehabilitation project which has resulted in the signing ceremony of the loan and the grant.
European Union Ambassador to Zambia Gilles Hervio said the provision of the fund to rehabilitate the Dam wall is good news to other countries such as Malawi and Mozambique.
And World Bank Country representative Dr Kundahavi Kadirean said the bank is looking forward to ensure that the Dam wall rehabilitation is completed to make it safer for the next seven decades.
Dr Kadirean said the funding for the rehabilitation symbolises the strong partnership of the two countries and the critical role that ZRA is playing in ensuring that hydro power is provided as Africa has a deficit of electricity.
Sweden Ambassador to Zambia Lena Nordastrom said her country considers the Kariba Dam wall as one of the important structure for the countries and hence there is need to support the rehabilitation to make it safer.
The rehabilitation of the Kariba Dam will be done for a period of 10 years.