The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the government of Zambia have signed a US$55mn loan agreement to build a 120MW hydropower plant.

The Itezhi-Tezhi hydropower and transmission line project, located on the Kafue river in Zambia, will increase the country’s power supply, reduce load-shedding and create growth and export opportunities.

Gilbert Mbesherubusa, AfDB vice-president of regional integration and trade operations, views Zambia’s hydro potential as an opportunity to put the country on a low carbon growth path. He adds that the project, one of the first public-private partnerships in the country, will enhance energy security and increase the country’s potential to export power and promote regional integration.

The loan agreement was signed by the Zambian minister of finance, Alexander Chikwanda, and Freddie Kwesiga, the AfDB’s resident representative to Zambia. The permanent secretary in the ministry of finance, Felix Nkulukusa, and representatives from the Zambia Electricity Supply Co-operation and Itezhi-Tezhi Power Co-operation, were also present.

Chikwanda says: “The AfDB has been a significant partner to Zambia, providing support in infrastructure, and strengthened management systems in various sectors. The government of Zambia continues to value these contributions and expects that the partnership between the AfDB and Zambia will grow and that opportunities to further this co-operation will present themselves.”