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Electrical problems are prevalent for most of Africa, in some countries like Nigeria, people and businesses rely on generators to get the power they need, in a country like Zambia, they depend on hydro-power.
This reliance on hydro-power is problematic for Zambia though, especially for small businesses, because if there is a drought there can be severe economic risks. In a bid to help divide the load of power production in Zambia, and increase availability, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a loan of up to US$150-million to finance a new 300MW coal-fired power plant, as well as the revamping of an existing coal mine in Maamba, Zambia.
Not only with this help the country’s people and businesses by increasing power-production, but the diversity from hydro-power will have safety benefits as the current coal mine often suffers from the unregulated and spontaneous self-combustion of tons of unused low-grade coal.
The upliftment of the Maamba power plant will help curb the amount of black outs Zambia is currently experiencing, and will ease the reliance on hydro power which is vulnerable to drought. Hydro-power accounts for 96% of total power production. The new development will use technology that features high combustion efficiency and reduced GHG emissions, leaving a lower environmental footprint.
AfDB’s Division Manager for Infrastructure Finance, Tas Anvaripour, said, “I am delighted to reaffirm the African Development Bank’s commitment to support Zambia’s power sector as it embarks onto the path of energy source diversification and resilience in an increasingly climate change-sensitive environment.”
AfDB is functioning as the co-mandated lead arranger, and alongside South African bank Absa Capital, is mobilising the capital from development finance institutions and commercial financiers, as well as coordinating the due diligence for the US$800-million project.
Anvaripour said that not only is the diversity of power important, but that “the project will produce much-needed power for households, businesses, and Government, while remediating a long-standing environmental concern.”
The African Development Bank, together with the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF) makes up The African Development Bank Group, which contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 53 regional member states.