ZAMBIA TO BECOME NET ENERGY EXPORTER

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By BUUMBA CHIMBULU

ZAMBIA will in the next five years become a net exporter of energy with support from cooperating partners such as the Word Bank, says Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe.

The country is expected to generate over 2, 000 megawatts (MW) of power through various electricity projects.

The World Bank is currently implementing various energy projects across Zambia while rehabilitating the existing ventures to improve electricity generation.

Ms Mwanakatwe said Zambia only needed about 4, 000 mw of power to become a net exporter of energy in the next five years. She was speaking yesterday in Lusaka at the launch of the new World Bank Country Partnership Framework (CFP).

“The CFP is going to be transformational in many areas. Here we are as Zambia sitting amidst eight countries, when we say we are going to do an interconnectivity that we require to move to other others is just so important.

“Here we are as country with potential to become a net exporter of energy, we are currently at 2, 330MW, we are doing lower Kafue Gorge 750 MW, Batoka 2, 400MW shared between us and Zimbabwe, 1, 200MW for us, we are doing scaling up solar.

“We have put 55 MW into the grid, What about 2 00MW, 400MW, this is what CFP is bringing to this country. If we can get up to 4, 000 or 6, 000 MW, then we are a net exporter of energy and this can stand us in good state as a country,” she said.

World Bank Country Manager, Ina-Marlene Ruthenberg, said Zambia’s largest source of concessional financing, the International Development Association (IDA) currently had over US$1 billion.

“We have presently in our programme portfolio 18 projects with total net of over US$1 billion and when we add to this the contribution from other partners it is over US$1.2 billion,” Ms Ruthernberg said at the same function.

And World Bank senior operations officer, Helen Mbao, said the organisation last year disbursed $128 million towards the implementation of various projects across the country.

Ms Mbao said the bank had so far this year disbursed about US$ 70 million for projects contained in the CPF.

The CFP, she explained, outlined projects which were being implemented in Zambia meant to among others improve the country’s fiscal fitness by reducing expenditure.

“The main focus areas for the CFP include improving the livelihoods of people, especially those in rural areas by improving electricity supply and reducing poverty. The bank wants to continue supporting areas such as the agriculture food sector and energy,” she said.

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