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Zambia:Brazilian multi-national keen to turn Zambia into regional power hub

A Brazilian multi-national company plans to transform Zambia into a regional electricity hub for the benefit of countries in the Southern and Central African region.

Andrade Gutierrez (AG Group) of Brazil says it has identified Zambia as the best location from which to develop power projects which will increase generation for both local consumption and export.

Company Commercial Director, Dieter Hopf, says the entire Southern and Central African region was currently facing serious power deficits and that Zambia`s centrality makes the country suitable to be a strategic distribution point for power to other countries in the region.

Hopf said this at a meeting he held with Zambia`s Ambassador to Brazil, Cynthia Jangulo, in Brazil, according to a statement issued by the embassy Thursday.

Hopf explained that his company, which has just concluded feasibility studies in Zambia, felt that the country was suitable for such big projects because it was a safe investment destination owing to its political stability and economic progression.

Andrade Gutierrez (AG Group), which has already opened talks with Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) with regard to participating in the development of the Batoka Gorge Hydro-power Project, wants to enter into several other ventures in Zambia as separate undertakings from Batoka.

Hopf noted that there was a big power deficit in Zambia which has led to industries as well as households and other facilities suffering persistent load-shedding.

He pointed out that increased electricity generation will create huge opportunities for Zambia to export excess power and earn foreign exchange.

“We established from our visits that additional generation capacity would be an interesting development for Zambia as the country will be in a position to meet its own needs as well as be able to export the excess. We established that the whole region has a serious power deficit and this would be interesting for Zambia.”

On the development of the Batoka Hydro-Power scheme, whose objective is to increase power generation capacity between Zambia and Zimbabwe, Hopf says his company was waiting for ZRA to revert.

The Batoka project is expected to significantly reduce power outages and turn the two countries into net exporters of power in the region.

The Batoka Gorge Hydro-power Project involves the construction of a dam and a hydro-power plant on the Zambezi River, about 54 kilometres downstream of the Victoria Falls. The potential capacity of the site is 1,600 megawatts which will be shared equally between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

It is expected that this project will play a critical role in reducing the cost of doing business and enhance the competitiveness of enterprises as the region’s economy and trade continue to grow.

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