Zimbabwe and Zambia have agreed to convene a Special Council of Ministers Meeting in July to give impetus to the implementation of the $5 billion Batoka Gorge Hydroelectric Scheme with both parties expressing their keenness to expedite the execution of the 2400mw power project.

The 35th Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) Council of Ministers Meeting held in Victoria Falls ended with both Zambia and Zimbabwe agreeing on the need to expedite the $5 billion Batoka Gorge Hydroelectric Scheme Project.

The ministers resolved to convene a special meeting in July to agree on the way forward regarding the mega project.

New chairperson of the ZRA Council of Ministers, Zimbabwe’s Energy and Power Development Minister Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo and his counterpart Mr Mathew Nkhuwa highlighted that the 2400mw power project remains a priority project given its importance to the two countries’ economies and the entire region.

“The meeting has been very successful and we have agreed on all of the agenda items but most importantly we have prioritised the Batoka project. We must ensure that this project in completed as soon as possible,” said Ambassador Khaya Moyo.

Finance and Economic Development Minister Cde Patrick Chinamasa and his counterpart Mrs Margaret Mwanakatwe said the two governments are keen to expedite the implementation of the project and hailed the huge interest in the project from regional and international financiers.

“In order to expedite the implementation of the project we have agreed to convene a special meeting where Batoka will be the sole agenda. When we meet we should be clear on the way forward. This is a critical project to both economies and we are happy with the interests by investors,” said Cde Chinamasa.

The ministers also approved the $86 million ZRA 2018 budget and also discussed the hydrological situation at Lake Kariba with parties expressing pleasure at the improved water levels.

It was also agreed that the number of Council of Ministers be increased to include Ministers of Water from both countries.

The Batoka Gorge Hydroelectric Scheme Power Station to be located along the Zambezi River near Victoria Falls will generate 2 400mw to be equally shared between the two counties while excess power will be sold to the region.