BOTSWANA and Namibia have signed a Memorandum of Intent (MoI) via video conference with several financial partnerships, including the African Development Bank (AfDB), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the US government’s Power Africa; for the construction of a 5000MWp solar power complex at the border between Namibia and Botswana.
This agreement and the one that was signed earlier also via video conference, will allow the pre-feasibility studies for this clean energy mega-project to begin. The pre-feasibility studies are estimated to cost around $1.8m. According to Botswana’s Deputy Permanent Secretary for Mineral Resources, Energy Security and Green Technology, Nchena Mothebe, financial partners joining the project are expected to contribute to the funding of these studies, which will help estimate the overall cost of the mega-project.
Boosting regional power pool
Last year, Namibian Mines and Energy Minister Tom Alweendo said the project will see installations built across both countries and the power produced will be exported to the Southern African region through the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), an initiative of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Namibia currently imports over 60 percent of its electricity from South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe to meet the shortfall in domestic generation.
For its development, the authorities of the two countries will also benefit from the financial support of the new partners, notably the AfDB, IBRD, Power Africa and the IFC, the World Bank subsidiary responsible for financing the private sector. At this stage of the project, the IFC’s involvement means that the solar complex will be open to investment by independent power producers (IPPs).