GERMAN Ambassador to Zambia Achim Burkart says there must be urgency in implementing energy sector reforms to put Zesco back on a sustainable financial footing, to increase transparency and to foster greater market confidence.
During the signing of a EUR41.5 million grant agreement between Germany’s Development Bank KfW with the Ministry of Finance and Zesco, Ambassador Burkart said the current energy crisis underlines how essential access to energy is for peoples’ lives – in homes, in hospitals and schools, to run businesses and to pump.
“It is therefore very timely that we are signing this grant agreement today. The project will rehabilitate and extend the Chishimba Falls Hydro Power Plant in Northern Province. It will upgrade existing civil structures as well as construct a complete new power station with a foreseen total capacity of 15 MW. The project will play a key role in meeting the increasing energy demand in Kasama and neighbouring districts,” he said.
He said the project would support the site with touristic development by turning the retired part of the plant into a museum and finance a new health centre with maternity services.
“And importantly, the project supports the objectives of the UNFCCC Paris climate agreement and Zambia’s ambitious Nationally Determined
Contributions through supporting the expansion of renewable energy,” he said.
Ambassador Burkart said in Germany the move towards renewable energy continues to be rapid.
He said on average 40 per cent of German energy needs comes from renewable energy sources.
“At certain times during the year, this number even goes up to 100 per cent. In Germany, this is about 15 per cent wind energy, 12 per cent solar, and other sources including hydropower,” he said.
Ambassador Burkart said investing in renewable energy makes Germany more independent and more secure.
“And it creates jobs – currently about 340.000 people are employed in the renewable energy sector,” he said.
He said Germany was a strong supporter of the global transformation towards renewable energy and one of the biggest providers of climate finance.
Ambassador Burkart said that was why in Zambia the energy sector was currently the biggest area of German-Zambian cooperation with an on-going grant portfolio of EUR109 million.
“We support GRZ in strengthening of the grid in Zesco’s Southern Division as well as through the Get Fit programme and this project,” ambassador Burkart said.
He said all of this support is provided on a grant basis.
He said German support to water, agriculture and governance was also offered as grants only.
“We take comfort that problems facing the energy sector, in particular Zesco’s financial situation, have been identified by the Government of Zambia and that the Government of Zambia is working on sector reform plans, including addressing Zesco’s fiscal situation,” he said.
“We believe there must be urgency in implementing energy sector reforms to put Zesco back on a sustainable financial footing, to increase transparency and to foster greater market confidence. Only decisive action will help to ensure a low-cost clean energy future for Zambia with access to energy for all Zambians,” said ambassador Burkart, emphasizing that implementation of the reforms was essential for effective cooperation in this area. “As symbolized by today’s signing ceremony Germany stands ready to support Zambia on this track.”