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Kariba rehab delays worry funders

by Staff reporter
16 Oct 2023 at 06:08hrs | Views
The funders of the Kariba Dam Rehabilitation Programme (KDRP) have expressed concern over the project's prolonged timeline, which has extended into its seventh year, far exceeding the originally projected three years.

The US$294 million KDRP includes the refurbishment of Kariba Dam infrastructure, involving the reshaping of the plunge pool and rehabilitating the spillway. These improvements aim to reduce erosion of the dam wall structure and prevent potential issues with the spillway gates, which could lead to dam failure, resulting in severe consequences.

The project is financially supported by the European Union, World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB), and the Swedish government.

During a high-level visit to the project, Eneida Fernandez, the World Bank country representative for Zimbabwe, noted that the KDRP had encountered various challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, geological complexities, technical requirements, supply disruptions, and lengthy procurement processes.

Fernandez emphasized that although significant progress had been made in completing over 80% of the plunge pool, there were concerns regarding potential delays in the rehabilitation of the spillway. She urged all parties involved to address the issues affecting the spillway works and expedite the remaining rehabilitation activities to ensure regional energy security.

Fernandez reaffirmed the financiers' commitment to supporting Zimbabwe and Zambia in overcoming the challenges faced by the project and contributing to sustainable economic development in the region.

In his address, Energy and Power Development Minister Edgar Moyo called for collective efforts to ensure the successful delivery of the project. He stressed the commitment of the governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe to complete this significant project, which is a key source of clean and sustainable electricity for both countries and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

Moyo highlighted that the KDRP would enhance energy security, contribute to socio-economic development, and extend the dam's lifespan from 50 to 100 years. It is estimated to benefit three million people by reducing risks and supporting an annual power generation capacity of 10 gigawatts.

The AfDB and World Bank each contributed US$75 million to the project, with an additional US$25 million provided by Sweden.

Source - newsday