US$ 1million grant to boost Zesco operations

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THE Zambian government has announced plans to utilize the US$100 million grant from the World Bank to enhance the operations of the country’s power utility company, ZESCO.

This decision comes following the approval of the immediate disbursement of the US$100 million grant as part of the National Energy Advancement and Transformation (NEAT) program, which has a total investment envelope of US$700 million over a 10-year period.

The NEAT program aims to improve the financial sustainability, operational reliability, and resilience of the electricity sector in Zambia, particularly amidst the challenges posed by the country’s current drought situation, leading to significant load shedding.

According to the minister of Finance and National Planning Situmbeko Musokotwane, the grant will provide a timely financial boost to ZESCO and support the procurement process for non-hydro power renewables.

This support is crucial in facilitating ZESCO’s return to financial sustainability and reducing its fiscal burden, while also attracting private sector investment for broader development and more inclusive electrification nationwide.

The approval of the NEAT program marks the World Bank’s first energy project in Zambia since 2018, demonstrating confidence in the country’s strategic reforms and strengthened public financial governance credentials.

The disbursement of the US$100 million grant under phase 1 of the NEAT program is scheduled between 2024 and 2026, contributing to Zambia’s efforts to address its energy challenges and promote sustainable development.

By Elesani Phiri

Kalemba, March 18, 2024

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