ZIZABONA power project awaits AfDB funding approval
Harare (New Ziana) – The long-awaited ZIZABONA transmission interconnector project, which will facilitate power trade across Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia, is expected to get funding approval from the African Development Bank (AfDB) next year.
As implied in its name, the power transmission project would see the construction of an interconnector line between Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia.
The project has been packaged into three components, A, B and C: the Zimbabwe – Zambia leg (Component A), the Zimbabwe – Botswana and the Zambia – Namibia legs (component B and C respectively).
The ZIZABONA component being considered for financing by the AfDB is component A.
According to minutes of the Zimbabwe/Botswana bi-national commission held early this year, the project awaited approval of the Zimbabwe country strategy paper.
“The commission noted that the project failed to secure funding from the AfDB for phase one of the project. The project awaits approval of the Zimbabwe country strategy paper prior to AfDB Board approval by year 2023,” read part of the minutes availed to New Ziana.
“It is anticipated that funding will be secured in 2023 from the AfDB through the Southern African Power Pool on account that the project has regional benefits. The commission directed Zimbabwe to expedite the development of the country strategy paper and provide an update at the mid-term review in November 2022.”
According to the AfDB, the ZIZABONA will create an alternative wheeling path between northern and southern parts of the Southern African Development Community, and decongest the central transmission corridor.
It is further meant to particularly facilitate evacuation of power from upcoming projects in Zambia and Zimbabwe to demand centres in South Africa and Namibia, thereby facilitating regional power trading.
The electricity utilities of Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia signed an Inter-Utility Memorandum for the development of the ZIZABONA transmission network in 2007, and an Inter-Governmental Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the governments of the four countries in 2012.
According to previous estimates, the project, which could involve a capital investment of more than $220-million, would be able to support the transfer of up to 600 MW of electricity.
Upon completion, it is also expected to ease congestion on the existing north-south transmission corridor from South Africa to Zimbabwe and add a 400 kV western corridor to the Southern African Power Pool.
The techno-economic studies for the three components of the project were completed in December 2017.