Batoka project to be completed by 2024

Source: Batoka project to be completed by 2024 | The Herald September 29, 2016

Conrad Mwanawashe in VICTORIA FALLS

The 2 400MW Batoka hydro power project, to be situated a few kilometres downstream the Victoria Falls, on the Zambezi River, is expected to be completed in 2024, but first generation is earmarked for 2019. Zimbabwe and Zambia will share the electricity equally when generation commences.Already international financial institutions are lining up to finance the $4 billion scheme, with the African Development Bank having been appointed the lead arranger for the project.

Financing mechanisms being considered by the two Governments include loans, Build Own Operate Transfer, grants and equity capital, among others.

Private Public Partnerships are also under consideration.

The Batoka Hydroelectric project is being implemented under the auspices of the Zambezi River Authority, a bi-national organisation mandated to operate monitor, and maintain the Kariba Dam Complex as well as exploit the full potential of the Zambezi River.

Apart from international financial institutions showing interest in the project, private sector players are also angling to finance the project.

Current chair of the ZRA and Secretary for Energy in the Ministry of Energy and Power Development in Zimbabwe, Patson Mbiriri said appetite was high among financiers.

“The two Governments are exploring a variety of options but there is appetite from the private sector to participate in the Batoka project,” said Mr Mbiriri.

Mr Mbiriri was speaking during a joint tour of Batoka Godge by the ZRA board members and the media.

The tour saw the board and the media visiting the site from both Zimbabwe and Zambia sides.

Already, the World Bank has released over $10 million for feasibility studies, $6 million and access roads in both countries, about $5 million.

The mobilisation of funds is expected to by the end of 2018.

Currently, Studio Pietrangeli from Italy, is updating of Engineering Feasibility, expected by the end of the year while Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, also to be ready before year end, is being carried out by Environmental Resources Management, South Africa.

Ernst & Young Advisory Services, South Africa is working on the Legal and Financial Transaction Advisory Services.

The consultants were appointed through a World Bank process.

The mobilisation of funds will be followed by the procurement of developers/contractors to be completed by mid-2019.

ZRA expects the preparatory process to conclude in the first quarter of 2017 with the submission of final reports which should pave way for the commencement of construction works.

The power to be generated by the Batoka Godge Hydroelectric scheme is expected to alleviate power shortages in Zimbabwe and Zambia.