The Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) Council of Ministers has reiterated its commitment to ensure Zambia and Zimbabwe draw equal social and economic benefits, from the development of the US$4.5 billion Batoka Gorge Hydro-Electric Scheme (BGHES).

Outgoing ZRA Council of Ministers Chairman, who is also Zimbabwean Minister of Energy and Power Development, Soda Zhemu, informed his Zambian counterpart Mathew Nkhuwa that mutual benefits will also be extended to other projects under the authority’s water storage infrastructure development plans covering other dam sites located along the stretch of the Zambezi River.

Mr. Zhemu noted that the two sister republics shared various projects on the Zambezi River along the stretch that formed a border between the two countries.

He said this yesterday during the 38th virtual Council of Ministers Meeting (COM) which was attended by Energy Minister Mathew Nkhuwa, Finance Minister Bwalya N’gandu, Attorney General Likando Kalaluka and other senior government officials from both countries.

Mr. Zhemu said it was particularly reassuring to learn that apart from introducing over 4,000 direct and 6,000 in-direct jobs, the project would generate revenue of over US$750 million annually.

“This US$750 annual target will consequently enhance the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), of the two contracting states in addition to empowering our people,” he said.

And Mr. Zhemu stressed the need for establishment of additional water storage and power generation infrastructure under the 2,400 MW BGHES.

“In addition to ensuring the continued existence and safe operation of Kariba Dam, you will agree with me that of paramount interest to the two contracting states is the development of additional water storage and power generation infrastructure under the 2,400MW BGHES,” he said.

Earlier, Energy Minister Mathew Nkhuwa said the Meeting was important as it helped to guide the operations of the Zambia River Authority which was jointly owned by Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Mr, Nkhuwa said the Authority was key for both countries as it spearheaded efforts to harness the social and economic benefits presented by the Zambezi River.

The ZRA Council of Minister’s Meeting was held to get updates on activities under the Zambezi Valley Development Fund; and to receive progress reports on the implementation of various projects aimed at enhancing the livelihood and well-being of communities displaced during the construction of Kariba Dam.

This year, Zimbabwe through Mr Zhemu is handing over chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers to his Zambian counterpart, Mr. Nkhuwa.