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The African Development Bank’s Executive Director for Southern African Group II Constituency Henrich Gaomab II, was in Zimbabwe to tour power projects implemented under the ZimFund Emergency Power Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project Phase II and for talks with government officials
Gaomab was accompanied on his consultative meetings by Joao Luis Ngimbi, his Senior Adviser. In Harare, they met with Professor Mthuli Ncube, Zimbabwe’s Minister for Finance and Economic Development; Dr John Mangudya, the Governor of the Zimbabwe Reserve Bank; and Dr Micheck Sibanda, the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet.
Senior executives of Zimbabwe’s Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) and staff of the Bank’s Zimbabwe Country Office accompanied Gaomab and Ngimbi on a tour of Bulawayo’s Marvel and Gweru’s Chertsey Substations, two power projects implemented by the Bank, under the ZimFund Emergency Power Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project Phase II.
ZimFund, the Zimbabwe Multi-Donor Trust Fund, is a $145 million water and sanitation and energy programme, established in May 2010. Administered by the Bank, its donors include Australia, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom.
ZimFund has financed two new transformers, currently in use, replacing dilapidated transformers, at the Chertsey and Marvel power stations. Both transformers had packed up in 2005 and 2009 respectively, having been in operation way beyond their recommended 50-years lifespan. Installation of both transformers were completed in December 2018.
The Chertsey and Marvel substations supply power to critical institutions such as hospitals, schools and universities, water and sewage treatment plants, mines and other public facilities that cater for a population of over 3 million people, spread across the Bulawayo, Matabeleland South and North, and Midland provinces of Zimbabwe.
Executive Director Gaomab commended the work done at these substations, stating that they provide a true development impact in Zimbabwe and relate strongly with the Bank’s High 5 priorities particularly, Light Up and Power Africa, Industrialize Africa and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.
Like any other economy, electricity is fundamental to Zimbabwe’s economic development. Economists at the Bank project Zimbabwe’s economy to grow by 4.2% this year and by 4.4% in 2020, underpinned by growth in the mining and agricultural sectors along with fiscal consolidation efforts by the country’s treasury.
Lovemore Chinaka, General Manager, ZETDC applauded the Bank and ZimFund donors for their ongoing support for Zimbabwe’s power program. The power projects were critical to the rejuvenation of the national economy, contributing to the food security, industrialization and social agenda, Chinaka said. ZETDC is aiming to achieve 90% electrification coverage of the country in the very near future.
Bernard Mbiriri, Director of the Implementation and Monitoring Unit in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development also expressed gratitude to the Bank. He sought for increased Bank assistance to enable Zimbabwe to achieve its vision of becoming an upper middle-income economy by 2030.
Responding to these calls, Executive Director Gaomab said, “I can assure you as I have informed the Minister of Finance, that we strongly remain committed. We shall look at any other, if any at all, alternative avenues available that we can still be of relevance in terms of what ZimFund is doing. Please be assured, be encouraged, be committed that we are fully supportive in whatever avenues.”
Apart from ZimFund projects, the Bank also supports Zimbabwe in other ways, mainly in the agriculture, transport, social and financial services, and energy sectors. The Bank currently finances other power projects, including the Alaska-Karoi Transmission Line and the North East Network Rehabilitation Project.
Other projects under Bank consideration include the Tokwe to Masvingo Transmission Line and Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia Interconnector (ZiZaBoNa) project, which is critical to the Southern Africa regional grid.