Wednesday, 12 February 2014

African Union Prioritises Zambia's Energy Projects

By Paul Shalala in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The African Union has prioritised the Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya interconnector power project and the Batoka Gorge Power Project in Southern Province as way of reducing poverty in the three respective countries.

The continental body, says it has prioritised this interconnector because it has potential to lift millions of citizens from abject poverty and contribute to economic development.

According to the Africa-European Union Energy Partnership Status Report, the Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya interconnector is among the six international power projects in Africa which the Africa Union wants to fund with the help of external partners to increase energy access in Africa.

The report was released this morning by Cross Border Information Chairman Jon Marks who compiled the report over a two year period on behalf of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership Secretariat based in Germany.

This was during the official opening of the Second High Level Meeting of the Africa-EU Energy partnership at the African Union Headquarters.

The Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya interconnector project is under the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa -PIDA which is being spearheaded by the African Union, the New Partnership for Africa's Development -NEPAD and the African Development Bank -ADB.
Meanwhile, the report has also revealed that the Batoka Gorge Power project in Southern Province has been put on priority together with the 120 megawatts Itezhi-Tezhi Power project in Central Province which was last year funded by the European Investment Bank to the tune of 50 million Euros through the ADB.

And Director of Infrastructure and Energy at the African Union Commission Aboubakari Moussa says the continental body wants to ensure that the six priority prioritised projects under the PIDA project increase access to energy among African countries.

Speaking at a press briefing on the sidelines of the on-going Second High Level Meeting of the Africa EU Energy partnership in Ethiopia, Mr Moussa said Africa has huge energy potential which needs to be efficiently tapped.

And European Union Deputy Director for Development and Corporation Klaus Rudischhauser has revealed that the EU will this week announce an increase to its money allocated towards increasing access to energy in Africa.

Mr Rudischhauser says since the Africa-EU Energy partnership was formed seven years ago, the European Union has been keen to help Africa increase its distribution of energy to its citizens and contribute to poverty reduction.

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