Control of the Cahora Bassa hydroelectric scheme will be handed over from Portugal to Mozambique next week, on 27 November.
The scheme, which was completed in 1975, is 125km northwest of Tete on the Zambezi River and has been under the majority shareholder ownership of Portugal since 1975 when Mozambique gained independence.
Negotiations over the ownership of the dam have been on-going between the two countries for several decades and under the terms of the deal agreed between them, Mozambique had to confirm its ability to conclude the deal by 31 October. On the day before the deadline Mozambique notified the Portuguese government that the conditions were in place to complete the change of the shareholder structure of the dam.
Until now, Portugal has held an 82% stake in the dam, as opposed to Mozambique’s 18%. The terms of the deal state that Mozambique will pay US$950M (US$250M upfront) for a 67% stake in the dam, giving it a 85% total share in the hydro scheme. Portugal will retain a 15% share in the dam but has agreed to sell off a further 5% of its shares to a buyer approved by Mozambique.
The ceremony to mark the handover of the dam will take place in Songo and will be attended by Armando Guebuza, President of Mozambique, and José Sócrates, the Portuguese Prime Minister. Tomaz Salomão, the executive secretary of the Southern African Development Community, and seven Southern African head of state are also expected to attend.