Mozambique finds US$700 million needed to pay Portugal for Cahora Bassa

10 November 2006

Maputo, Mozambique, 10 Nov – The Mozambican government has obtained the US$700 million it needed to pay the Portuguese state for 67 percent of the Cahora Bassa Hydroelectric Dam (HCB), Mozambican newspaper Mediafax reported Wednesday.

According to the paper, the Energy Minister, Salvador Namburete said that the Mozambican government had identified its partners in this process.

Under the terms of the deal signed on October 31 in Maputo by Portuguese prime minister José Sócrates and Mozambique’s president, Armando Guebuza, Mozambique will have to pay US$950 million for a 67 percent stake in HCB.

Of that figure, US$250 million will come out of HCB’s funds and Mediafax said that this first payment had already been made.

Mozambique has a year to pay the remaining US$700 million, or in exceptional circumstances this period can be increased to 18 months.

Namburete said he was confident, however, that the payment deadline would be respected.

On being asked to name the partners involved, Namburete declined to give further details and added that, in time, Mozambique’s partner would be made public, as would the way in which the owed funding would be paid.

The president of state electricity company, Electricidade de Moçambique, told Mediafax that the change in control of HCB would make it possible to move ahead with other hydroelectric projects along the Zambezi river.

The two main projects being looked at are the construction of a new dam at Mepanda Ncua, some 70 kilometers downstream of Cahora Bassa and a second hydroelectric plant at Cahora Bassa, on the northern bank of the river.

Cumbe also said that there were a number of projects in the Zambezi valley that were awaiting a solution for Cahora Bassa and that these now were able to move ahead. (macauhub)