Financing worth US$300mn has been secured for the expansion of an Angolan hydroelectric plant.

The finance comes from HSBC, Société Générale and BHF Bank and is covered by the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (Miga) – the political risk insurance (PRI) arm of the World Bank – which is providing non-honouring of sovereign financial obligations cover of US$512mn to the project’s lenders for a period of 13 years.

The construction contract has been awarded to Odebrecht, a Brazilian company – continuing the trend of Lusophonic countries collaborating on projects. The expanded Cambambe plant will provide over 5,000MW of electricity – a huge increase from the previous capacity of 1,500MW.

Angola is one of the most energy-rich countries in Africa. But despite this, less than 30% of the population has access to electricity. The government of Jose Eduardo dos Santos (which has ruled since 1979) has been accused of siphoning the wealth out of the general economy, enriching a tiny percentage of the population.

However, Antonio Barbalho, sector manager for energy at Miga describes the Angolan government’s energy initiative (the Cambambe expansion is one of a number of projects in the pipeline) as “ambitious”.

He tells GTR: “Much of the country’s power infrastructure was destroyed during the war, so the government has been implementing an ambitious development plant to bring more power to the country by 2017. This includes several new power generation projects as well as transmission lines. Importantly, this will include the completion of a north-central interconnector, which would remove the previous power divide between the northern and central parts of the country. We expect to play an ongoing role in supporting the government’s plan.”