Mozambique: Cahora Bassa will have only Mozambican directors after payment of debt to Portugal

21 November 2007

Maputo, Mozambique, 21 Nov – Payment of the US$700 million to Portugal will be made from the operating revenues of the Cahora Bassa Hydroelectric Dam (HCB) and not one cent would come from the state budget, said Mozambican energy minister, Salvador Namburete in Maputo Tuesday.

Speaking to journalists on the preparations of the official ceremony for payment of the debt and alteration to the shareholder structure of HCB, Namburete said that the consortium made up of Portuguese bank BPI and France’s Calyon, which will loan the money to Mozambique to pay Portugal, would not be involved in the dam’s management.

On November 26, the Mozambican government will transfer US$700 million and, on the same day, in a general meeting, the company’s new board of directors will be chosen, made up entirely of Mozambicans, according to Namburete.

The following day a ceremony will be held, in Songo, Tete province, where the project is located, to mark the end of the process.

The ceremony will be attended by Mozambican president, Armando Guebuza, Portugal’s finance minister, Teixeira dos Santos, and some heads of state and government of Southern Africa: Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, Zambia’s Levy Mwanawassa, Botswana’s Festus Mogae and South Africa’s vice-president, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Swaziland prime minister, Barnabas Dlamini.

As part of the deals signed by the Mozambican state and the Calyon/BPI consortium, Canadian group Manitoba Hydro was chosen to carry out maintenance and operate the dam over the next few years.

Namburete noted that from 2008, even with the first repayment of this loan, HCB would contribute to state revenues, by paying taxes, construction charges and providing other benefits, including necessary investments. (macauhub)