African Development Bank awards loan for Zambia's 120-MW Itezhi-Tezhi hydropower project

The African Development Bank (DfDB) and the Zambian government have signed a US$50 million loan which will be applied to the 120-MW Itezhi-Tezhi hydropower project and Kafue-Livingstone transmission line.

Speaking at a signing ceremony earlier today, Zambia's Minister of Finance, Alexander Chikwanda, said the Itezhi-Tezhi plant is essential in improving the country's currently erratic power supply.

Work at the US$250 million plant, which will be operated under a private-public partnership between India's Tata Africa Corporation and the Zambian Electricity Supply Corporation Limited (ZESCO), was begun by former President Rupiah Banda in September 2011.

At that time, Banda said Zambia's "national power demand has been increasing faster than projected, largely due to the rapid growth of [the country's] economy at the average rate of 6.4% over the last six years."

Itezhi-Tezhi will feature two 60 MW vertical Kaplan turbine generators from Alstom, with construction work to be provided by Chinese engineering firm Sinohydro Corp. Ltd.

Recently, reported that the European Investment Bank (EIB) had invited applications for pre-qualification to serve as lenders' engineer for the project.

Current President Michael Sata has continued Zambia's hydroelectric growth, commissioning the 1-MW Shiwan'gandu hydropower plant earlier this month.

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