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Mozambique leader hails dam deal with Portugal

Mozambican President Armando Guebuza on Wednesday hailed Portugal's transfer of control of a huge hydroelectric plant to its former colony as the end of "the final redoubt of foreign domination".
Guebuza signed an agreement with Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates late on Tuesday to buy 82% of shares in the Cahora Bassa dam on the Zambezi river.

Mozambique paid $950-million for the purchase of the stake in Southern Africa's largest hydropower project. The agreement ended years of dispute over the dam.

Guebuza said that Mozambican control over Cahora Bassa "will stimulate the rural electrification that is already under way, and improve living conditions for many more Mozambican communities".

The hydroelectric project was set up in 1975.

Talks on handing over control of the dam to Mozambique were frustrated by disagreement over the handling of the company's estimated $2,2-billion debts to Portugal.

The hydropower plant is now a viable concern, exporting power, as well as supplying the energy for the grid operated by Mozambique's own electricity company.

Additional information: Read the full story at the web site of the Mail&Gardian
News date: 02/11/2006

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