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Mozambique: China to fund Mphanda Nkuwa hydropower dam

The government has signed a memorandum of understanding with The Export-Import Bank of China (China Eximbank) to finance construction of the 1,350MW Mphanda Nkuwa dam on the Zambezi river.
The total $2.3bn loan package includes funding for a transmission line from the dam site in Tete province to Maputo, while China will also fund the Moamba-Major dam that will provide Maputo with drinking water at a cost of $300m.
The dam is to be built at a site 70km south of Cahora Bassa. Critics of the project say it will feed the government’s hunger for big-ticket mega-projects, but will not benefit Mozambicans, fewer than 5% of whom have access to electricity. There are also concerns following a recent earthquake in Mozambique measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale. Due to poor record keeping, the quake was nearly 30 times more powerful than thought possible in the region, according to Mozambican environmental group Justiça Ambiental.
The dam is expected to displace 1,400 people, and will add to the problem of retention of sediment, to the detriment of mangrove swamps in the Zambezi Delta and of agriculture downstream.

Additional information:
News date: 08/05/2006

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