Stanbic Bank Botswana has expressed interest in investing in the regional power interconnector project, saying the sector remains a core focus for Stanbic Bank a subsidiary of Standard Group.This Tuesday, Tasha Ferreira, Stanbic Bank Botswana Executive Director told BG Business that Standard Bank Group will be delighted, if the opportunity presents itself to participate in the project.
However, Ferreira said given that the approximately P1.8 billion project is still at an infant stage, the role local banks can be playing is unclear ahead of an Investor conference normally followed by a Project Information memorandum that clearly defines the opportunities that might exist for investors and lenders to further pursue.
The Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia (ZiZaBoNa) power inter-connector is an innovative project that the three sub continent countries are embarking on. The project which is being promoted as part of SADC regional integration has the capacity to increase power trading among participating utilities in addition to providing an alternative route and assist to decongest the existing central transmission corridor that currently passes through Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile, SADC hosted an investor roundtable in Namibia a few months ago where four other investors expressed interest in the development of the ZiZaBoNa power interconnector.Amongst the investors, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), European Investment Bank (EIB) and the French Development Agency (FDA), however Stanbic has since joined the race.
At that time, DBSA has pledged to contribute around P400 million while the FDA proposed to contribute around P250 million. The initial capacity of the transmission interconnector will be 300 MW, which will be later increased to 600 MW.However the terms of agreement signed in 2008 were that the four utilities would take 20 percent each of the equity.
The project, which is expected to be complete in 2015 will be implemented in two stages with Phase One covering the construction of a 120-kilometre 330 kilo Volt line from Hwange Power Station to Victoria Falls where a switching station will be built on the Zimbabwean side, which will be extended to a sub-station at Livingstone, Zambia.
The second phase will involve the construction of a 300 km 330kV line from Livingstone to Katima Mulilo in Namibia, through Pandamatenga in Botswana.The Zimbabwe-Zambia interconnector will be built as a high voltage line with a transmission capacity of 430 kV. However, it will operate as a 330 kV line during the first phase.
The ZiZaBoNa project will be organised as a special purpose vehicle, to be incorporated as a company in Namibia.