Lake Kariba Dam Wall

Lake Kariba Dam Wall

Zambia and Zimbabwe have obtained pledges of $280 million to rehabilitate the Kariba dam, a crucial source of energy built more than 50 years ago that requires urgent maintenance, the authority managing the dam said on Wednesday.

The European Union (EU) will provide $100 million, the World Bank and African Development Bank (AfDB) $75 million each, Sweden $30 million, and the balance will come from the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA), it said.

Failure to invest in the rehabilitation of the dam could result in the gradual degradation of key safety features to a level below international standards, ZRA said.

“It is urgent and the document is going to the board for approval very soon so that work can begin,” AfDB Zambia Country Representative Freddie Kwesiga told Reuters.

The Kariba dam and hydro-electric scheme were built across the Zambezi river between 1956 and 1959 and have been central to energy security and economic development in Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Kwesiga said the $75 million that the AfDB has pledged will be a loan but some of the institutions had given grants for the project. (Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by Joe Brock)

From : Reuters

22 September 2014