The African Development Bank (AfDB) has finally approved additional loans worth Sh27.5 billion (£235 million) for the completion of the Thwake River Dam project in southern Kenya.
The additional loan package comprises of Sh22.5 billion (£192.5 million) which will come from AfDB while the rest Sh5 billion (£430million) will be from the Africa Growing Together Fund (AGTF), a fund that was created by both AfDB and China to finance public and private development projects in the African continent.
This additional assistance follows another loan that was granted by AfDB in 2013 to start building the dam, which is part of a strategic water supply project known as the Thwake Multi-Purpose Development Programme. The objective of the programme is to provide drinking water, irrigation and hydroelectric energy for the larger semi-arid area of Makueni County and surrounding regions, including the technology city of Konza that is under construction.
On completion the Thwake dam, which is being constructed by the China Gezhouba Group Company (CGGC), is expected to be 80.5m high and have the ability to store up to 681 million cubic metres of water. Out of this, a majority, 625 million cubic metres of water will be for purpose of producing electricity and the downstream irrigation of agricultural land. The rest will be divided as follows; 34 million cubic metres will be for human use while 22 million cubic metres will be for upstream irrigation.
The construction of this phase is expected to be completed by the end of 2022. An additional three phases are expected to follow after the initial phase is complete. After the initial phase, there will be construction of hydraulic plants, which will be used to treat up to 117,200 cubic metres of water for the 640,000 residents that will be occupying the tech city of Konza as well as 34,600 cubic metres for household use for the 674,700 inhabitants in the region. The next phase will include production of hydroelectric energy followed by another stage that will focus on 40,000 hectares of irrigation.
The African development bank has a portfolio for Kenya worth Sh373 billion (£3.2 billion), which comprises of 33 operations. Out of this, 22% of the portfolio goes towards water and sanitation operations.