Zambia breaks ground on China-backed 750MW hydro power project

29 November 2015 (Last Updated November 29th, 2015 18:30)

Zambia has initiated the development of 750MW Kafue Gorge Lower hydro power project, which is expected to help the African country meet its increasing energy requirements.

Zambia has initiated the development of 750MW Kafue Gorge Lower hydro power project, which is expected to help the African country meet its increasing energy requirements.

The $2bn project is supported by China and follows a memorandum of understanding signed between the two countries last month.

The groundbreaking for the power project represents its handover to China’s state-owned Sinohydro Corporation, who will be developing the facility.

Planned to be constructed in the southern Chikankata district, at around 90km distance from Lusaka, the facility is expected to help the country address its ongoing power crisis.

"This project also assures us of sustainable energy security as a nation because it will add a significant amount of power to the grid."

Contruction works for the project is expected to last four years.

Chinese news agency Xinhua cited Zambia President Edgar Lungu as saying that the country will be contributing 15% of the project costs, with the rest to be arranged by the contractor.

Sino Hydro will thus be responsible for arranging 85% of the project costs as debt financing for from China Exim Bank and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

Lungu said: "This is a viable project with assured market for its product and therefore recouping the investment we are making is assured.

"This project also assures us of sustainable energy security as a nation because it will add a significant amount of power to the grid."

Zambia will be carrying out the project via energy and water development ministry and state-owned power company Zesco under a special purpose vehicle, Kafue Gorge Lower Power Development, reports Lusaka Times.