President Hakainde Hichilema, has facilitated the signing of a significant energy deal that has the potential to revolutionize the Zambian energy sector.
The Zambian-owned power utility company ZESCO has signed an agreement with the United Arab Emirates’ company Masdar to develop solar projects worth $2 billion.
During the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Joint Development Agreement (JDA) between Zambia and the UAE, Hichilema stated that the MoU aims to promote large-scale investment in renewable energy in Zambia.
The MoU and JDA will see ZESCO partner with Masdar, a major investment funding entity of the UAE, to form a joint venture in developing and deploying large-scale solar projects throughout the country, with an estimated cost of $2 billion.
In a statement, the President of Zambia, Hakainde Hichilema, said that this is not a loan but a capital injection or investment in which the Zambian people, through ZESCO, will be partners in shareholding. The projects will be implemented in a phased manner, starting with the installation of 500 megawatts.
Once completed, the projects will result in an additional 2,000 megawatts of electricity in the country within the next few years. Hichilema said that with the projected increase in electricity supply, Zambians will experience even more accelerated economic development and increased employment opportunities.
Some energy experts suggest that Zambia should consider setting up a uranium-powered nuclear power plant that could generate a large amount of power, making the country a net exporter. Zambia has reported finding local uranium deposits that could be exploited for such an ambitious venture.