Zambian mining companies, which have been forced to spend millions on alternative sources, should be encouraged by news that Zambia Electricity Supply Commission (ZESCO) has secured a $60 million investment to boost its power grid.
Standard Chartered Bank, in partnership with United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has provided the long-term loan for ZESCO to undertake the project. The loan will finance capital expenditure for Zesco’s Lusaka transmission and distribution rehabilitation project as well as provide bridge financing to facilitate new connections to the grid. `
On behalf of his organisation, Standard Chartered CEO, Andrew Okai, said the loan was “the longest tenure and largest facility provided to a Zambian parastatal entity to date”.
USAID/Zambia mission director, Michael Yates, said, in due course, he believed the loan would enable ZESCO meet the demand for quarter of a million Zambians and the economy as a whole.
According to Zesco MD Victor Mundende, support from USAID and Standard Chartered has already resulted in more than 15 000 new power connections being established across the organisation’s 39 000 km of power transmission and distribution lines.
Standard Chartered corporate and institutional banking division CEO, Simon Cooper highlighted a shocking reality of the level of the electricity supply backlog in African countries. “Though Africa accounts for around a sixth of the world’s population, it generates only 4% of its electricity.”
The funding is part of the “Power Africa”, which was unveiled by President Barrack Obama. It is an initiative aimed at boosting electricity supply capacity in African countries.