Namibia, Angola to build 400 MW hydropower plant

22 April 2009 – Namibia and Angola plan to build a joint $7bn hydropower plant on a river that runs along their common border to produce 400 MW of electricity.

Daniel Zaire, the deputy director for electricity at the Namibian ministry of mines and energy, told Reuters the construction of the project on the Kunene river would start by next March, and would be carried out by Brazilian companies.

The plant would be built on a 50/50 basis by the two countries despite the financial crisis, Zaire said.

“The construction will take between five to eight years, and may kick off in March next year once all feasibility are completed,” Zaire said on the sidelines of an Africa power conference in Johannesburg.

“The project will be financed by the two governments, development agencies and some banks in South Africa,” he said.

He said reliance on imports from South Africa’s state utility Eskom had put Namibia in a vulnerable position, and it wanted to widen its power supply alternatives.

Namibia, a producer of gold, diamonds, uranium and copper, faces a shortfall of power and imports electricity from neighbouring South Africa, itself beset by power shortages.

Across the border, Angola, which rivals Nigeria as Africa’s biggest oil producer and depends on oil exports for 90 per cent of its income, suffers frequent power blackouts.