The vision of the Western Power Corridor Project PTY (Ltd), a joint venture between five Southern African countries, of becoming Africa’s power house for sustainable growth that will directly contribute to continental economic renaissance is now taking shape.
Dr. Pat Naidoo, Chief Executive Officer of WESTCOR, told Sunday Standard that the Regional Company has just completed a Desktop study, which points to a highly promising project, technically, economically and financially.
He said that, basing on the findings of the study, it can be confidently stated that Southern Africa is on the way to become the energy intensive valley of the world, to the extent that original equipment manufacturers and energy intensive mining and other powerful industry operations, will be compelled to relocate to the region, “by virtue of us offering competitive world’s lowest cost of electrical energy to power the mines, industries and factories”.
Naidoo pointed out that, with the right engineering, appropriate technology and creativity, the citizens of countries of the region can brace up for high quality jobs, adding that he is not making a prophesy, but basing himself on tangible evidence that can be tested.
“For instance, given that the water continually flows to the ocean, and has been doing that for as many years as we cannot count, all we need is to employ the relevant technology, with no environmental implications, because our source (water) is natural,” said Naidoo.
Then from this, value is created in the form of high quality jobs, resulting from the multi-faceted investments from multinational companies who will naturally be inclined to invest in the region because of reasonable tariffs, envisaged by the study.
Especially so given the new global trend to move away from carbon emitting modes of electricity such nuclear and coal, which currently powers most western countries.
Thus, the WESTCOR chief intimated that his confidence emanates largely from the fact that the primary energy source for the INGA project, which is water, is natural and renewable, thus sustainable as well as free from pollution.
In addition, there are no harmful buy-products such as radiation from waste of nuclear power plants.
Moreover, Southern Africa has the right volumes of water, ranging from the Congo River, the Medio Kwanza River in Angola and the Cunene in the Northern parts of Namibia, which lie in the western coast of Southern Africa.
And in the eastern corridor of the SADC region lies the mighty Zambezi River, which traverses across Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.
The next course of creation is supposed to be the engineering designs and production plans including how the project will be financed.
Naidoo posited that lots of people and organizations previously went there and concluded that it would be expensive to pursue the power project.
But, driven by appreciation of each other’s weaknesses, and “backed by the strengths of the other”, a nice strong SADC team merged to work together on the project, hence the formation of a joint company incorporated in Botswana as Company no 2003/3502, named West Power Corridor Pty Ltd, usually referred to as WESTCOR.
One such practical example of team spirit cited, is the fact that the project will rely on already tried and proven designs, power stations and power transmission systems, which are already in place, thus saving hugely in terms of time, energy and money.
Regarding the benefits for involved countries, it has been predicted that, at 5000MW Inga 3 project will return a net profit of approximately US $ 2.2 billion the first year, with the scenario repeating itself the following year, and over and over again without any serious liabilities other than maintenance.
“In case of the DRC where the gist of the Inga Project lies, we will pay concession fees, for using their water, and this will translate to US $ 500 million, for every 5000MW, and their power plants, in addition to their dividends as shareholders.
Besides, all the shareholding countries will get the net revenue flow back.
There is consensus that the project will redefine the economic landscape of Southern Africa and ultimately the overall growth and prosperity of continental Africa.
The five countries in the project are the Democratic Republic of Congo, Botswana, South Africa, and Namibia as well as Angola.