Zimbabwe, Zambia Hydropower Plant Upgrade Delayed by Two Years

Upgrades to Kariba Dam, the main source of electricity for Zambia and Zimbabwe, have been set back by at least two years because of technical challenges and supply disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Zambezi River Authority said.

A meeting of finance ministers from the two countries last week cited delays in contracting works, unforeseen technical challenges and supply constraints for the delay, the authority, which regulates water usage, said.

The ministers approved a budget of $71.3 million for 2021 that will be financed through a combination of internally generated funds, amortized loans and grants sourced from the World Bank, African Development Bank, the European Union and the Swedish International Development Agency.

Kariba, which has the capacity to produce 1,050 megawatts of electricity, has been operating below capacity because technical faults and low water levels in the dam caused by past successive droughts.

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