At least five investors have expressed interest in developing an electricity transmission interconnector linking Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia.
Commonly known as ZiZaBoNa, the transmission interconnector project has the capacity to increase power trading among participating utilities, as well as provide an alternative route and help decongest the existing central transmission corridor that currently passes through Zimbabwe.
The five investors, the African Development Bank (AfDB), Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), European Investment Bank (EIB), French Development Agency and Stanbic Botswana, pledged more than $160 million towards the project.
Total funding requirement is $223 million, comprising $67 million equity and $156 million debt financing.
DBSA has indicated that it is willing to contribute $50 million over a 17-year horizon.
The French Development Agency pledged to commit between $30 million and $50 million, while the AfDB said it is prepared to pick up 40% of the debt financing required. The rest of the financing could be covered via “African Finance Partners”.
Stanbic Botswana also said it was ready to invest in the project, noting the amount was something it could provide, given that it recently funded an even larger energy project in Botswana. The bank provided funding for the $800 million for the Morupule B energy project in Botswana.
The potential investors disclosed their strong interest in the ZiZaBoNa project at a recent investor’s roundtable held in Swakopmund, Namibia, to lure investment for the project.
Consultations with the financiers are expected to be conducted in October or December, with intended financial proposals by March 2013.
Speaking at the meeting, Namibian Prime Minister Nahas Angula said the ZiZaBoNa project deserved all the support as it was “an example of regional co-operation and integration, and how strong regional co-operation can be”.
Sadc deputy executive secretary responsible for regional integration, João Caholo concurred, saying that regional ministers for infrastructure had already identified the ZiZaBoNa project as one of the major priorities for the Sadc infrastructure development master plan.
The master plan, which will guide development in key infrastructure in southern Africa, is expected to be approved by the Sadc Heads of State and Government during their annual summit set for Maputo, Mozambique on August 17-18.