LUSAKA, Zambia: July 26 (Xinhua) — Construction of an electricity transmission interconnector that will link four southern African nations is expected to commence in 2014, the Zambia Daily Mail reported on Thursday.

The interconnector- to link Zambia to Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana and dubbed – ZiZaBoNa- is expected to have an initial capacity of 300 megawatts which will later be increased to 600 megawatts.

Southern African Development Community (SADC) Communication Expert, Water Division, Infrastructure and Services Directorate Barbra Lopi said five investors have so far expressed interest in developing the transmission interconnector and that the master plan will be approved by SADC Heads of State and Government during their annual summit set for Mozambique next month.

The official said consultations with the financiers are expected to be conducted in October or December this year with intended financial proposals by March 2013. The five investors include the African Development Bank (AfDB), Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), the European Investment Bank (EIB), French Development Agency and Stanbic Botswana which have pledged more than 160 million U.S.

dollars, she said. Under the ZiZaBoNa agreement signed in 2008, all four countries’ respective power utilities are expected to finance parts of the project that fall within their national boundaries.

According to the official, the total project funding required s 223 million dollars, comprising 67 million dollars equity and 156 million dollars debt financing.Once completed, the project has the capacity to increase power trading among participating utilities, as well as provide an alternative route and help decongest the existing central transmission corridor that currently passes through Zimbabwe.

The southern African region is currently facing a critical power deficit due to increased economic activities.

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