Mozambique sells majority stake in Nphanda Nkua for 2.4 billion

Mozambique plans to sell a majority stake in the planned Mphanda Nkuwa hydroelectric dam, which will be one of the largest in southern Africa, according to Carlos Yum, the director in charge of the projectquoted by the "Bloomberg" news agency.

According to the news published by the "Bloomberg" portal, the government will issue a request for proposals later this year, and it will take up to four months to select the winner and another six weeks to negotiate the joint development agreement.

The goal is to reach financial close by 2024 on the 1,500-megawatt facility and an associated transmission line that could increase the total cost of the project to as much as $4.4 billion, Yum said in an interview this month in Maputo.

Mphanda Nkuwa will be about 60 kilometers (37 miles) downstream on the Zambezi River from the Cahora Bassa hydroelectric dam that has the capacity to generate 2,075 megawatts of power. Mozambique sells most of the electricity from that dam to neighboring South Africa, where shortages have been experienced for more than a decade.

In addition to exporting power, the new project will sell electricity to Mozambicans, Yum said. About one-third of Mozambicans have access to energy, and President Filipe Nyusi plans to increase it to 100% by the end of the decade.

The dam will be Mozambique's latest multi-billion dollar energy project. TotalEnergies SE is developing a $20 billion plan to export liquefied natural gas from undersea reserves in the far north of the country, although the project has stalled this year due to an insurgency linked to Islamic State. The violence is nearly 1,000 kilometers away from the planned Mphanda Nkuwa site.

According to Yum, the shareholder structure of the new project will include the state-controlled Hidroeléctrica de Cahora Bassa, which owns the existing hydro plant upstream, and Electricidade de Moçambique EP, the electricity company. While the sale of a majority stake in the new dam will raise part of the financing, the government will also seek financing from multilateral and bilateral lenders, as well as commercial banks.

"The new investor should already own and operate similar projects of comparable size," Yum concluded.

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