By Irene Gaitirira
Published June 6, 2016
Zambia has received US$60 million from United States of America’s Government for its Lusaka Transmission and Distribution Rehabilitation Project (LTDRP) and new connections to the national power grid.
Experts say this is one of the largest facilities that the United States Agency for International Development (USAid) has delivered within President Barack Obamaâ€™s Power Africa partnership since the campaignâ€™s launch in 2013.
USAid has provided the loan to Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) through Standard Chartered Bank.
Dr Michael Yates, Director of USAid/Zambia Mission, says, â€œPower Africa is a broad partnership which aims to boost economic development, by providing access to electricity to homes and businesses across Africa. This is one of our largest commitments in Africa to date, and will enable us to meet a critical need for a quarter of a million Zambians and the economy as a whole.â€
Victor Mundende, Managing Director of ZESCO, says, â€œPart of ZESCOâ€™s strategic plan is to improve the quality of electricity and enhance connections to the national grid. USAid and Standard Charteredâ€™s support has already delivered more than 15000 new power connections. Some of the funds provided will be used for other scheduled power system upgrades, contributing to new and existing connections to homes and businesses across the country. ZESCO remains committed to meeting its aspirations of electrifying 60% of Zambia by 2030.â€
Andrew Okai, CEO of Standard Chartered Zambia, says this is Standard Chartered’s “second Power Africa partnership to benefit Zambia, with the first being Standard Charteredâ€™s Private Equity investment in Zambian Energy Corporation.â€
Simon Cooper, Standard Chartered Bank’s newly appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Groupâ€™s Corporate & Institutional Banking division, says the “Africa accounts for around a sixth of the worldâ€™s population, but only generates 4% of its electricity. Through our commitment to Power Africa partnerships – such as the one we have officiated with ZESCO – Standard Chartered will continue to support infrastructure development which provides a solid platform for long term economic growth.â€
Other partners are also supporting the power initiative in different ways. Partners are providing all kinds of equipment, from generators to thermostats, including those used by household such as those listed atÂ http://thermostatonline.com/
Standard Chartered acted as the Global Coordinator, Structuring Bank, Bookrunner, Mandated Lead Arranger, Facility Agent and Account Bank for this ZESCO-USAid partnership. Standard Chartered says that by more than doubling its original commitment to US$5 billion demonstrated its commitment to US President Obamaâ€™s Power Africa campaign.
The aim of Power Africa is “to increase the number of people in sub-Saharan Africa who have access to power. The initiative works with African governments and private sector partners to remove barriers that impede sustainable energy development and unlock the substantial wind, solar, hydropower, natural gas, biomass, and geothermal resources on the continent.
“Power Africaâ€™s goals are to increase electricity access by adding more than 30000 megawatts of cleaner, more efficient electricity generation capacity and 60 million new home and business connections across sub-Saharan Africa. Power Africa also includes the Beyond the Grid sub-initiative, which works to expand rural electrification and access to small scale and off-grid technology,” the initiative says in a media statement.