The World Bank has extended a $75 million grant to Zimbabwe under its International Development Association to rehabilitate the country’s largest man-made lake and boost its energy generating capacity.
The World Bank’s board of executive directors said it had approved the funds on Tuesday adding that the government of Sweden had also extended a $25 million grant to neigbouring Zambia to finance the same project.
The project seeks to assist the Zambezi River Authority in securing the long-term safety and reliability of the Kariba Dam Hydro-Electric scheme.
The project, with total financing of $300 million, is being co-financed by the African Development Bank and the European Union and will help the Zambezi River Authority, which is responsible for the management of the Kariba Dam, to reshape the dam’s plunge pool and refurbish its spillway, as well as improve dam operations in order to bring it up to international safety standards, the World Bank said.
“Rehabilitation of the Kariba Dam is an important component of the World Bank’s larger programme for boosting the energy security of Southern Africa. There is much more to be done in reaching that goal, but today marks an important milestone in securing the Kariba dam for the coming decades,” said Makhtar Diop, the World Bank’s Vice President for Africa.
The bank said cross-border energy trade made possible by the Kariba Dam Hydro-Electric Scheme is central to increasing access to electricity and lowering costs for millions of people.
The project, the World Bank said supports the development strategy of the Southern Africa Power Pool, a framework established in 1995 to provide regional solutions to electricity generation for the member states of the Southern Africa Development Community.
The Kariba Dam, built between 1956 and 1959, provides more than 50 percent of Zambia and Zimbabwe’s electricity, benefiting an estimated four and a half million people.-The Source