23 October 2008 – The Zambian government has signed a US$75 million financing agreement with the World Bank. The money will be used to increase access to electricity services, increase efficiency and quality of supply and improve the country’s distribution system.
Some of the monies will also be allocated to demand side management measures to be implemented by Zesco.
The deal was signed between World Bank representative, Kapil Kapoor and finance and national planning minister, Ng’andu Magande.
The project has the potential to connect some 18 000 new customers in Zambia, including homes, commercial operations, processing mills, clinics and others.
Dr Kapoor said effective implementation of these projects by Zesco or the private sector would need to be supported by cost reflective tariffs that safe-guarded operations as well as Zesco’s improved operational efficiencies. One way of increasing revenue would be to increase the number of metered customers and billing and collections. Increased operational efficiency and reduced staffing costs would also increase consumer confidence and allow for cost savings.
The current rate of electrification in Zambia is approximately 20% nationwide and three per cent in rural areas but government plans to increase this to 50% by 2030. It is estimated it will cost US$1 billion or annual expenditure of US$50 million for the next 22 years for the plans to be fully implemented.