ZESCO, Zambia’s national electricity utility, has set an ambitious vision for powering industrial growth domestically and across its SADC neighbours. As Zambia moves towards an ultimate goal of becoming a net exporter of energy in the region the Kafue Gorge Lower, Batoka Gorge and the Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya Interconnector projects have attracted significant investment.
Recent years have seen a power supply crisis derail the Zambian economy, with key sectors of national interest such as mining suffering as a direct result of an unreliable power supply. Zambia has always had a heavy reliance on hydro power, meaning that climate change and unpredictable weather patterns have made diversification of energy sources critical.
ZESCO Managing Director Mr Victor Mundende is currently the President of the Association of Power Utilities (APUA) of Africa and has put Pan-African collaboration at the heart of Zesco’s development strategy. Zambia’s geographic position provides it with eight neighbours which Zesco is building interconnections with. Projects such as the ZTK Interconnector form part of a wider Pan-African strategy to diversify supply and minimize risk for the continent’s rapidly developing economies. At 2300km the ZTK connector between Zambia, Kenya and Tanzania will be the biggest interconnected power network in Africa.
Public-Private Partnerships will form a critical part of Zambia’s energy sector development, with Mr Mundele stating “The one thing we have not done well in the past is implementing or attracting PPP investments. But going forward I am much more confident. PPPs are the way to go. I know that the president is very keen to see PPP projects. This is a tremendous opportunity for the private sector, as it will provide clear and transparent rules of engagement and process. I believe the energy sector is primed for PPP’s and we encourage investors and the general private sector to work with us.” The approach is already bearing fruit with Enel investing $40m in the 34MW Ngonye Solar Plant to match $34m from international investors, a significant step forwards as Zambia builds a clean, reliable and sustainable energy future.