AfDB approves US $70 million Kariba Dam Rehabilitation Project

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The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group, during its ordinary sitting on Monday, December 15, 2014 in Abidjan, approved a proposed ADF loan of US $39 million to the Republic of Zambia, and a grant of US $12 million from the Bank’s Transition Support Facility (TSF) and a grant of US $24 million from the African Development Fund  Regional Operations (RO) envelope to the Republic of Zimbabwe for the Kariba Dam Rehabilitation Project.

The project involves the rehabilitation of the Kariba Dam infrastructure by reshaping the plunge pool and rehabilitating the spillway. The plunge pool will be reshaped in order to dissipate energy from the spilled water thereby reducing the energy on impact and hence bedrock erosion which could undermine the dam foundations, leading to dam failure. The project will rehabilitate the spillway gates to avoid possible jamming in the open or closed positions both of which would result in dam failure and catastrophic regional loss of lives, livelihoods, and billions worth of assets and power.

The value-added of the Bank Group in this project is being part of the donor group to ensure adequate financing of the project, as well as helping in the design of additional technical and social investigations to assure the technical, social integrity and economic soundness of the rehabilitation approach. Specifically, the Bank Group has been able to leverage internal resources under the Transition Support Facility to fund the Zimbabwe’s contribution to the project costs when no other financier was in a position to assist, demonstrating strong commitment to being a development partner to countries in situations of fragility and transition, contribute to mitigation of the risk to fragility, ensuring human safety to both Zambia and Zimbabwe and the region as well as support the regional integration agenda. The Bank is also contributing to the creation of work synergy between the Southern African Power Pool and the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) to enhance regional integration.

The project will include a capacity-building component which includes training for technical staff of the ZRA and skills transfer through the supervision engineer and panel of experts. The programme will strengthen ZRA’s Emergency Preparedness Plan and also includes a programme for improved community emergency preparedness.