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Unlocking Potential for Cooperative Development in the Zambezi Basin: Batoka Gorge

September 30, 2013


  • CIWA facilitated dialogue helps to unlock multi-decade deadlock between Zambia and Zimbabwe on the development of the Batoka Gorge
  • Analytical work on financial and economic implications of inaction plays crucial role in bringing together riparians
  • 1600MW generated by the project will be shared equally between Zambia and Zimbabwe

LUSAKA, September 30, 2013 - The Batoka Gorge Hydro-Electric Scheme is a project that was originally conceived as part of a cascade with the original Kariba Dam complex completed in 1961 between Zambia and Zimbabwe. A feasibility study for a dam and two hydropower plants was conducted in 1992. The generation capacity of the two plants totaled 1600 MW. The total cost at the time was projected at US$2.5 billion.

A disagreement over a financial debt between Zambia and Zimbabwe on the original Kariba dam stalled the development of the Batoka scheme. The losses from the delay of this project have been estimated at US$700 million annually or US$7 billion since the original planned commission date of 2002.

CIWA facilitated a high-level political process between Ministers from Zambia and Zimbabwe to try and resolve the impasse. This process included analytical work on the financial and economic implications of the impasse as well as options for moving forward. Leveraging the World Bank’s pre-existing relationships with key officials, CIWA initiated a meeting of the Zambezi River Authority Council of Ministers. This meeting led to an agreement to break the impasse and move forward with development of Bakota Gorge Hydro-Electric Scheme.

CIWA is supporting the Zambezi River Authority to update to the feasibility study to enable this project to move forward and generate shared benefits for both Zambia and Zimbabwe.