Scarcity of rain may plunge several Zambian cities into darkness


VENTURES AFRICA – A sweltering lack of rain has battered crop harvests throughout southern Africa, hitting economic growth and threatening to push food prices and inflation higher. Zambia, Africa’s second-largest copper producer, has slashed its power generation by 300 megawatts after water levels in the Kariba dam sagged after a protracted drought.

This was disclosed by Charles Zulu, Zambia’s deputy minister of energy, on Wednesday, adding Zambia intended to cut its hydro-power generation by up to 600MW.

He said that this would happen as and when water levels continued plummeting on the Kariba. “Our generation capacity is 2.200 megawatts but now we have reduced to 1.900 megawatts,” Zulu told Reuters. “There will be massive load-shedding (power rationing) and all of us, including the mines, will be affected.”

Abraham Nehemia, the acting Permanent Secretary in Namibia’s Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, has described the drought situation in the south West African country as being grave.

He told the SABC that the entire country’s grazing had been hit by the current drought, but the northern regions were severely affected.

This has forced the government to drill 50 boreholes to deliver water in the country. Southwest Zimbabwe has also experienced worst regional drought in nearly 10 years and with the failure of nearby crops, it is likely to be even harsher, it has emerged.

The drought is likely to damage harvests across southern Africa – from southern Angola to Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique and Namibia, according to World Food Programme (WFP). This week, South Africa said unemployment in the country had surged to 26.4 percent partly due to drought in the country.