A French firm has been awarded a contract to start rehabilitation works at a dam owned by Zambia and Zimbabwe, a senior Zambian government official said on Tuesday.

Rehabilitation works of the Kariba Dam, situated south of Zambia and bordering Zimbabwe, will commence next month after the two governments managed to raise 294 million U.S. dollars required.

Minister of Finance Felix Mutati said Razel-Bec has been awarded the contract to start rehabilitation works at the dam.

The Zambian minister, during a signing ceremony held at the dam in Siavonga district, urged the contractor to expeditiously implement the works and offer jobs to local people.

The Zambian minister further assured that the dam will not collapse and that all 3 million people downstream were safe, according to state broadcaster, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation.

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The rehabilitation of the dam is being financed by the European Union (EU), the World Bank, the Swedish government and the African Development Bank (AfDB) while the two governments have also contributed counterpart funding.

EU Ambassador to Zambia Allessandro Mariani said the rehabilitation project will give the dam walls a new lease of life while World Bank Country Representative Ina Ruthenburg said the dam was a symbol of close collaboration between the two countries.

Rehabilitation of the plunge pool will commence next month while works on the spillway gates are expected to start in 2018 and the whole project will be completed by December 2020.

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Plans to rehabilitate the dam started in 2014 after experts advised that it should be repaired after cracks emerged on its walls.

Experts had warned that Africa’s largest man-made lake, which measures 226 kilometers long and in some places 40 kilometers wide, would collapse if nothing was done to repair it.

Built between 1956 and 1959, the dam provides more than 50 percent of the two country’s electricity. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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