EIB provides funding for Zambian transmission line upgrades

LUSAKA, Zambia 5/22/12 (PennWell) -- The European Investment Bank has agreed to a US$30 million deal to upgrade Zambia's Kafue-Livingstone transmission line, which carries power from the 108-MW Victoria Falls hydroelectric plant to the city of Lusaka.

The project will increase the transmission line's capacity from 120 MW to 360 MW, making it a priority for project promoter Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO). EIB says the original line was built in the 1970s with future upgrades already in mind, meaning the plan will use existing infrastructure.

The line stretches 341 km between the Victoria Falls hydropower complex and the city of Lusaka, allowing electricity to flow between the northern and southern part of the Southern African Power Pool to bypass Zimbabwe and reduce the risk of blackouts.

"We all know that access to energy is crucial for the development of Zambia," says Plautarchos Sakellaris, EIB vice president. "Energy is so important for the delivery of health services, education, food security, business activities and economic development in general."

The project also includes the construction of new substations, which could enable energy trading via the European Union-Africa's Caprivi interconnection station.

EU-Africa is also supporting the project through its Infrastructure Trust Fund, which will provide a $6.7 million interest rate subsidy and a Technical Assistance Grant of $448,000 to support procurement and monitoring.

The total cost is estimated at $100 million and will be co-financed by EIB, the World Bank and ZESCO. Completion is expected for 2014.

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