Harare, Zimbabwe — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 25 November 2011 – The government of Zimbabwe has agreed to pay Zambia US$70 million as its contribution towards the construction of the Kariba South power station on the Zambezi River, which divides the two countries.
Daily newspaper “The Herald” reports that payment is expected to end a standoff that has stalled co-operation between Zambia and Zimbabwe on the so-called Batoka power project.
Secretary for energy and power development Justin Mupamhanga told a parliamentary portfolio committee on mines and energy here that Zimbabwe had agreed to pay US$70.8 million early next year.
“Zimbabwe is still keen on the Batoka project and discussions were held over the past two months to try and reach agreement,” he said. “Zimbabwe will pay a principal amount of US$70.8 million, and the parties have agreed that Zimbabwe will start paying in January 2012.” Payment of the principal amount is expected to be spread over three years.
The two countries previously shared the Kariba Dam’s assets through the Central African Power Corporation during the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. The corporation was dissolved in 1987, seven years after Zimbabwe’s independence.
Capco’s assets were shared equally, but Zambia felt Zimbabwe had benefited more, although Zambia had contributed more than Zimbabwe towards the construction of the vital Kariba North.
For years, Zimbabwe had repeatedly insisted it had contributed as much as Zambia towards the development of Kariba North. But a specialist audit later proved otherwise.
As a result of that audit, Zambia was unwilling to implement the bilateral accord for a 1 600MW power project at Batoka on the Zambezi River. Finally, the decision to pay was arrived at during meetings between the energy and power development ministers of the two countries.