Zambia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed a $2bn agreement to build solar plants in the southern African country that will increase its generation base by more than half.
According to President Hakainde Hichilema, the joint venture between Zambia’s state-owned power utility, Zesco and a UAE government-owned renewable energy company, Masdar, targets the development of 2,000 megawatts of solar power projects.
He further shared that construction will be done in phases, starting with the installation of 500 megawatts. “This is not a loan but a capital injection in which the Zambian people, through Zesco, will be partners in shareholding,”said Hichilema.
Zambia, Africa’s second-biggest copper producer, has an installed electricity generation capacity of 3,500 megawatts. The country is currently suffering rolling blackouts lasting as long as 12 hours a day after water levels in the Kariba Dam used by the nation and neighboring Zimbabwe to generate hydropower declined drastically.