27 February 2008 – Zesco, Zambia’s power utility, needs US$600 million in order to boost power generation, spokesperson Monica Chisela told reporters this week. The utility is talking to financial institutions from India, Japan and Western countries to secure the initial funding for a total US$2 billion investment which will increase generation capacity by 2 500MW.

Kariba

Kariba hydro
power station

"Zesco is sourcing funds from Development Financial Institutions like the African Development Bank, World Bank . . . export credit agencies like India Exim (and) Japan Exim.

"In the short to medium term, about $600-million capital investment is required by Zesco and over $2-billion capital investment is required in the long term," she said.

The government driven power rehabilitation project (PRP) was already underway. Chisela said the country’s biggest power project would be Kafue Gorge Lower, with an estimated cost of US$1 billion. The feasibility study for the project was being undertaken by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation.

"It is anticipated that, under the current cost estimates, it will cost about $1-billion to construct Kafue Gorge Lower Power Station," Chisela told reporters.

Expansion work and upgrades to Kafue Gorge and Kariba North Bank power stations are being undertaken and are expected to be complete by December 2008.

Speaking of a project granted to South Africa’s Tata Group, Chisela said "It has been estimated that developing the Itezhi-Tezhi Power Station will cost $230-million and construction works will commence before the end of 2008." The project is due to completion in 2012.

Zambia has an installed capacity of 1 300MW but only generates 772MW. Total demand is 1 600MW. Chisela says demand is anticipated to reach 2 500MW within the next five years.