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Cahora Bassa begins to pay off debt

Mozambique’s Cahora Bassa dam has started paying off a US$2.5B debt it owes to the Portuguese government, 28 years after it was built. The debt includes funds borrowed to build the dam and interest accumulated over the years.

Portugal owns 82% of the 2000MW project, and the Mozambican state the remaining 18%. However, the dam, developed as an independent venture, has to pay back the loan.

The hydro plant on the Zambezi river, operated for a few years after its construction in the 1970s, before it was closed down due to war. Electricity generation resumed in 1998 after rehabilitation of the 900km power line which links the dam, in the northwestern province of Tete, to South Africa.

Power generated at Cahora Bassa (pictured during construction) is sold to South African utility ESKOM.