As Zimbabwe and Zambia move with speed to mitigate the current power crisis, the two countries have taken a swift decision to award the tender for the development of the US$4,5 billion Batoka hydro power project to a consortium of General Electric and Power Construction Corporation of China Limited.

The meeting which was graced by ministers of finance and energy development from both countries saw the two countries agreeing on the need to expedite the implementation of the 2400mw project given the power crisis facing the two nations.

The decision to award the tender to the consortium is expected to pave way for the commencement of construction of the Batoka Gorge dam and the hydroelectric power plant.

Zimbabwe was represented at the meeting by Energy and Power Development Minister Advocate Fortune Chasi and Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube.

It was also agreed at the meeting that the two countries should implement measures that will ensure that the Zambazi River Authority (ZRA) and the power utilities in both Zambia and Zimbabwe remain sustainable so that they can discharge their mandates of ensuring energy security.

Feasibility studies for the US$4,5 billion project are nearing completion with the identified consultant, Environment Resources Management currently on the ground to engage communities near the project site on the socio-economic impact of the project as well as the planned relocation of affected villagers.