Maputo — The Mozambican government and its cooperation partners in the energy sector on Wednesday signed in Maputo financing agreements to the value of 506.7 million US dollars, intended for the Temane-Maputo electricity transmission line, in a ceremony witnessed by President Filipe Nyusi.
The line from Temane, in Inhambane province, to Maputo will be 563 kilometres long, and is associated with the construction of the Temane gas-fired power station, which will have the capacity to generate 400 megawatts of power, making it the largest power station built in Mozambique since independence.
Work on the new transmission line, budgeted at 551.2 million dollars, will begin in the first half of 2020, and is scheduled to end in late 2023. It will be built in three stretches - the first and longest stretch will be the 340 kilometres from Vilanculo in Inhambane to Chibuto in Gaza province. The second stretch will be the 180 kilometres from Chibuto to Matalane in Maputo province. The final stretch will be the 43 kilometres from Matalane to the capital.
The transmission line and the Temane power station will strengthen Mozambique's domestic power generation capacity and increase the opportunities to export electricity to other countries of the SADC (Southern African Development Community) region.
Addressing the ceremony, Nyusi said that the Temane-Maputo line is the first stage in the long awaited transmission line from Tete to the capital, known as the "backbone" of the national electricity grid. Currently power from the Cahora Bassa dam in Tete province does not go directly to Maputo, but passes through South Africa. The projected "backbone" will eliminate dependence on South Africa.
Nyusi said the new power lines will allow the development of integrated electricity infrastructures, which will support the industrialisation of Mozambique and of southern Africa.
"More than just an electricity transmission line, the Temane-Maputo line is a project for economic and social transformation, in which technology becomes a factor of change", said the President.
It would, he continued, break the vicious circle whereby the absence of large scale investments is blamed on a lack of electricity, and the lack of electricity is blamed on the shortage of large scale consumers.
The availability of a reliable and safe source of power in the rural areas, said Nyusi, will be a determinant factor in the development of agro-industries, which would in turn create jobs, and improve food security.
"With rural electrification, we shall also establish appropriate conditions for improving health, education and water supply services, and to expand information and communication technologies", he added, pointing out that currently the domestic demand or electricity is growing at a rate of 8.6 per cent a year.
The World Bank country director for Mozambique, Mark Lundell, praised the government and the national electricity company, EDM, for installing new power stations which have added 450 megawatts to the country's generating capacity since 2015.
The new Norwegian ambassador, Aud Marit Wiig, who delivered her letters of accreditation earlier in the day, reaffirmed the desire of the Oslo government that the target of electricity for all by 2030 should be achieved. To this end, she promised that Norway will continue to be a firm partner of Mozambique.