Zambia has begun the construction of what it says is a major hydro-power project aimed at boosting the country’s electricity generation capacity.
The construction of 750 megawatts Kafue Gorge Lower Hydro-power project in Zambia begins following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Zambia and China.
The hydro-power project in Zambia, to be situated in the south of the country-about 90 kilometers from Lusaka, will become the third largest power plant and the first major investment in the country’s energy infrastructure in over 30 years.
Chinese firm Sino Hydro Corporation Limited will construct the power project estimated to cost US$2b.
Speaking during the launch of the project, Zambian President Edgar Lungu said that his government will provide 15 percent of the project cost equity funding while the contractor will provide the remaining 85 percent of the total project cost as debt financing from the China Exim Bank and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.
Mr Lungu said that once complete the project will assures the country of sustainable energy security since it will add substantial power to the national grid.
The construction of the major hydro-power project in Zambia comes at a time when the country grappling with power deficit.
The project is expected to be completed in four years and about 5,000 jobs will be created during the construction period.
Sino Hydro Chairman Song Dongsheng expressed his confidence in the Zambian government noting that the company is engaged in various infrastructure projects in Zambia.
He said the company signed a cooperation agreement with the Zambian government in 2003 for various power projects including the Kafue Gorge Lower project.
A training school for its employees will be established by the company at the project site for three-month training courses, said Song.
Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Yang Youming, urged Sino Hydro to complete the project within the stipulated time and provide a good service, adding that the launch of the construction works of the projects signals the growing cooperation relations between the two countries.
He further said the cooperation between the two countries is expected to reach a higher level after the forthcoming Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Summit to be held in South Africa next month.