11 September 2012 – The Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) has seen a decline in electricity exports in the southern African development community (SADC) region, and the development of the Zizabona project is intended to reverse this. The envisaged Zizabona electricity interconnector will link Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia.
The Zizabona project is a key component of the SADC’s regional infrastructure master plan that could involve cross-border projects with a combined investment value of up to US$500 billion over the 15 years from 2012 to 2027.
The African Development Bank, the Development Bank of South Africa, the French Development Agency and Stanbic Bank of Botswana have reportedly pledged to fund the Zizabona interconnector. The agreement, signed and ratified by the four countries in 2008 is worth US$224 million. About US$67 million of equity finance is needed, with US$157 million required for debt financing.
The French Development Agency will provide about US$40million, the Development Bankof South Africa will provide US$50 million and the African Development Bank will meet about 40% of the debt financing.
Consultations with financiers are expected to be conducted in October or December 2012, with intended financial proposals due by March 2013.
When fully operational, the Zizabona will, among other things, make it possible for Namibia to import power directly from Zimbabwe. Currently electricity from the Hwange power station is being routed to Namibia through South Africa.
The project is also expected to help decongest the existing transmission corridor that passes through Zimbabwe.
As part of the cost-sharing agreement for the Zizabona project, Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation, Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority, Botswana Power Corporation and the Namibia Power Company will support components of the project that fall within their national boundaries.
The first of two phases of the project will cover the construction of a 120km 330kV line from Hwange power station in Zimbabwe to Victoria Falls on the border with Zambia. A switching station will be constructed on the Zimbabwean side of Victoria Falls. The line should extend to a substation in Livingstone, Zambia.
Phase two of the project will see the installation of a 300km 330kV line from Livingstone to Katima Mulilo in Namibia, running through Pandamatenga in neighbouring Botswana.