Zambia and Zimbabwe have appointed the African Development Bank (AfDB) as lead financial adviser for the construction of the 2,400-MW Batoka Gorge hydropower project, according to Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) Chief Executive Officer, Munyaradzi Munodawafa.
The project is estimated to cost US$4 billion and once construction begins it is expected to take 10 to 13 years to complete.
“Only yesterday [Sept. 26], we were talking to the AfDB after Zambian and Zimbabwean governments appointed them as the lead financial arranger on this project,” said Munodawafa, on Sept. 27 in Victoria Falls, after touring Batoka Gorge.
Batoka Gorge project
According to the ZRA, if approved, the Batoka Gorge project will be located about 34 mi downstream from Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River near the boarder of Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The scheme will consist of a 181-m high roller-compacted-concrete gravity arch dam that will impound the Zambezi River creating a reservoir containing about 1,680 million cubic meters of water covering an area of about 26 square km.
The site will also feature two underground powerhouses, each 800 MW, with one located on the north bank of the river and the other on the river’s south bank.
The governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe also jointly approached AfDB to receive training on seeking financial and technical assistance to support the development of the project.
According to AfDB, the request also focused on “the need for capacity development which should lead to appreciating the concepts, financial/technical issues and other relevant information on financing of hydropower schemes.”
Munodawafa said financial mobilization for the Batoka Gorge project is scheduled to begin in 2018, but could start earlier.