The first phase of the project, which is the largest ongoing infrastructure work in Angola, is to be concluded by October 2005. The second phase will cover the installation of two new turbines and will take approximately 22 months. After the conclusion of the second phase, the Capanda dam will have capacity to supply the country with 520MW.

The construction of the project on the Kwanza river, 150km to the southeast of Mlanje city commenced in September 1982. GAMEK, the consortium in charge of its execution, is made up by Angola, the Russian company Technopromoexport and Brazilian firms Odebrecht and Furnas.

Engineering works on the project began in November 1987, but they were interrupted during 1992-1994, because of the civil war that affected the country. Work finally resumed in July 1997.