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$23m ZimFund Project Raise Hope For Power Supply In Zimbabwe

Zimbabweans may soon heave a sigh of relief as the $23 million power project is ready to roll with the delivery of new transformer to restore adequate power supply to the South African nation.

This development is made possible by an Emergency Power Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project funded by ZimFund. The project, according to a statement made available to the media on Monday, has reached the last leg of implementation with the delivery of a 175 MVA transformer.

The new transformer was delivered on Sunday 10 July to the Sherwood Substation in Kwekwe Midlands Province, about 200km to the west of Harare.
Customers fed by the Sherwood substation, are spread over Midlands, Mashonaland East & West and Masvingo Provinces, serving over 1.2 million people. The substation is currently equipped with three 90MVA, 330/88/11kV transformers, giving a total substation installed capacity of 270MVA against a substation demand of 350MVA.

Phase II of the ZimFund Emergency Power Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project (EPIRP II) was funded to the tune of $22.74 million by ZimFund, in which the African Development Bank Group is a major partner.

The African Development Bank-managed EPIRP Phase II was designed to improve the availability of electricity supply through rehabilitation of generation, transmission and distribution facilities. The project target areas were Kwekwe, Gweru, Bulawayo, Mutare, Harare and Hwange, with a combined target population of 5 million people.

The new transformer will replace the old equipment which is beyond repair, causing numerous power interruptions that have impacted negatively on households, industry, human capital institutions, and essential basic service delivery.
WSP Power Managing Director, Dinesh Buldoo representing the government of Zimbabwe said the delivery of the transformer was “a key milestone since it is the largest key equipment included in the project scope”.

Buldoo noted that the project faced delays which was exacerbated by the COVID 19 pandemic impact especially on the production and shipping lines.

“We would like to thank Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company’s (ZETDC) and the people of Zimbabwe for their patience throughout this project”, he said.
Commenting on the delivery of the transformer, ZETDC Network Development Engineer, Edson Manyewe, said it would result in improved reliability of supplies, efficient operation of the network as well as improved quality of supplies.

ZimFund has been one of the most instrumental programmes in the country in terms of restoring Zimbabwe’s critical infrastructure for power, water supply and sanitation especially in the targeted areas.

By the end of the first phase of the power project I in 2016, more than 529,768 people in residential areas had their sewage reticulation serviced by reliable power, 11,632 others were restored to the electricity network and 11,097 people were added to the network.

The $145.8 million fund’s donors include Australia, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom. Most of the substations rehabilitated under ZimFund power project, supply power to critical institutions such as hospitals, schools and universities, water and sewage treatment plants, mines and other public facilities that cater for a population of over 5 million people, spread across the country’s provinces.

Under its energy sector, the African Development Bank is also financing other infrastructure projects in Zimbabwe such as the Kariba Dam Rehabilitation, Alaska-Karoi Transmission Line and Energy Sector Reform Support projects with a total investment of USD 90.5 million.

In a related development, the Bank Group President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina arrived in Zimbabwe on Monday for a two-day official visit to the country.

Dr. Adesina accepted a request in February by the Zimbabwean government to serve as the country’s arrears clearance and debt resolution champion among international financial institutions and bilateral creditors.

He will meet with President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa and other government officials, including Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube, who is also Zimbabwe’s Governor on the Bank Group’s Board of Governors.

Discussions will focus on potential areas of technical assistance that the African Development Bank will provide to the Zimbabwean government. President Mnangagwa, elected in 2018, has introduced several economic reforms to stimulate economic recovery and stability.

The Bank chief will meet with several African and G7 ambassadors and representatives of international financial institutions accredited to Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe is the only regional member country of the Bank currently under its sanctions and that of other multilateral financial institutions because of debt arrears amounting to over $2.6 billion.

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