Maputo — The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) on Thursday formalized funding of 200 million US dollars to build an electricity transmission line from the Chimuara substation, on the north bank of the Zambezi river to the northern Mozambican port of Nacala.
The agreement was signed by the Minister of Economy and Finance, Adriano Maleiane, and the President of the IDB, Ahmed Mohamed Ali, in Maputo, on the final day of the 40th Annual Meeting of the IDB.
“This funding is intended to improve the security and quality of the supply of electricity to the centre and north of the country, by building a second transmission line of higher quality, bearing in mind that the current line is operating at the limit of its capacity”, said Maleiane. “This second line will cost 600 million dollars, and the IDB has promised to provide 200 million”.
A second line should prevent any repetition of the disaster that struck early this year, when the entire north of the country, apart from those institutions or individuals fortunate enough to own generators, was deprived of power for about a month.
The existing line goes from Chimuara to the northern provinces via the town of Mocuba. But on 12 January the worst flood on the Licungo river since 1971 swept away ten pylons in the Mocuba area.
Electricity from the national grid could no longer reach Nampula, Niassa and Cabo Delgado provinces, and the northern districts of Zambezi provinces. A second transmission line will make it most unlikely that such a disaster could happen again.
The IDB has also accepted a request to finance a road that will link northern Mozambique to Tanzania. The road will run for 176 kilometres between the towns of Mueda and Negomano, in Cabo Delgado province, and will connect to the Unity Bridge over the Rovuma river, which is the border between the two countries.
The bridge was inaugurated in 2009 by the then President, Armando Guebuza, and his Tanzanian counterpart, Jakaya Kikwete, but not much traffic has used the bridge, due to the precarious state of the roads on the Mozambican side, particularly during the rainy season.
It is not yet clear how much the road will cost, since the necessary studies on the ground have yet to be undertaken.
Nonetheless Ahmad Ali said the IDB was prepared to finance it. “For us, building this road is a priority”, he said, “because it will link northern Mozambique to Tanzania, which could contribute to a great increase in trade between the two countries”.