Tuesday, November 4, 2008

World Bank, Zambia agree $75,5m power deal

World Bank agreed on Tuesday to a $75,5-million facility with Zambia to boost electricity generation and said the mineral-rich country required up to $2-billion to meet growing power demand.

Kapil Kapoor, the World Bank country manager for Zambia, signed the deal with Zambia's Finance Minister Ng'andu Magande. Kapoor said 18 000 new households would be connected to the national power grid.

Only 20% of Zambia's 12-million people have access to power and only three percent of those are in rural areas, government data showed.

The government plans to raise access to power to 50% of the population by 2030.

Kapoor said there was increasing demand for power in Zambia due to new copper mines and increased economic activity.

The cash will help build smaller hydro power stations, transmission and distribution of power facilities.

Kapoor said some $33-million of the total amount would be funded by the International Development Association of the World Bank.

Officials say Zambia has up to 1 650 MW generation capacity but currently generates only 1 400 MW of power as a result of a breakdown of some equipment.