PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has commissioned the Kafue Gorge Lower Hydropower Station in Zambia, saying the power plant is set to increase electricity output for the country.
‘Our country has, over the years, seen increased demand for electricity to power activities. Demand has been recorded in sectors such as education, mining, health services, agriculture, tourism, industries, and indeed our homes. This increase demand for powers necessitated accelerated investments in power generation and transmission infrastructure. It is no secret that between 1977 and 2011, power generation investment was not directly proportional to the increase in demand,’ said President Lungu.
The $2bn project, funded by the government and foreign financial institutions such as the Exim Bank of China, begun in 2015. China’s Sinohydro Corporation was awarded the contract to develop the project. Li Jie, Chinese Ambassador to Zambia said the power plant was a key project under within the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative.
The hydro-power station will produce 750MW and is expected to increase Zambia’s power supply by 38 percent, which is sufficient to meet the country’s electricity demand for the next 5 to 10 years. Apart from increasing electricity output for the country, the project also has other benefits, including creating employment, setting up infrastructure, and a powerhouse and dump site for Chikankata road project.
Zambia, like many other African countries, has been facing severe power shortage, where only 25 percent of its urban population and 3 percent of its rural population have access to electricity. Even though endowed with abundant water resources, poor infrastructure has hindered the landlocked country from turning its natural advantage into stable energy source.