The Sunday Mail
CONSTRUCTION of the multibillion-dollar Batoka Gorge Hydro-Electric Scheme (BGHES) will create over 10 000 jobs when work on the project begins later this year.
The 2 400 MW power plant is projected to generate annual revenues of over US$750 million for Zimbabwe and Zambia upon completion, according to the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA), which manages water resources in the river on behalf of the two sister Republics.
In an update on the disclosure of the project’s recently concluded Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) study, ZRA chief executive Engineer Munyaradzi Munodawafa said employment of workers from host communities will be prioritised.
“Overall, the stakeholders engaged during the ESIA disclosure process expressed optimism that the 2 400 MW BGHES will bring about social and economic benefits for the peoples of the two Republics, especially the host communities,” said Eng Munodawafa.
“The 4 000 direct plus 6 000 indirect jobs to be created during the construction of the Batoka Gorge Hydro-Electric Scheme project infrastructure has been welcomed by stakeholders who are eagerly awaiting its commencement during the fourth quarter of 2021.
“The host communities will be given priority for them to fully take advantage of the construction and tourism sector work and business opportunities the project will present, including under the associated supply chains and service industries.
“In the meanwhile, the project will also improve access to electricity amongst the host communities and add to the electricity generation capacity of the two countries for driving their respective socio-economic development programmes.” Eng Munodawafa said the Hwange Rural District Council is preparing a plan to build a resort city close to the project site.
“The authority is pleased to note that some stakeholders have also started positioning themselves to take advantage of the planned construction of the Batoka Gorge Hydro-Electric Scheme.
“The Hwange Rural District Council in Zimbabwe is making plans to develop a multimillion-dollar iconic city near the project site so as to take advantage of the economic benefits which will arise from the implementation of the BGHES.”
A similar project, he said, will be unveiled by the Mukuni Development Trust in Livingstone, Zambia. The supplementary projects are expected to create further employment opportunities for thousands of locals.
Eng Munodawafa added: “The authority, therefore, foresees major economic benefits, which will positively impact the two countries and generate revenue of over US$750 million annually, which will enhance the GDP of the two contracting states.”
The ESIA concluded that the dam height be limited to 175 metres in order to prevent the water backflow from reaching the Victoria Falls and the ZESCO Limited power station.
A consortium of General Electric and Power Construction Corporation of China was awarded the tender to develop the BGHES under a Build, Operate and Transfer funding model.
GE is a US company that specialises in various products and services, among them aircraft engines, electrical distribution, electric motors, energy, gas, finance, healthcare, lighting, locomotives, oil and wind turbines.