Botswana seeks more power from Mozambique

Botswana and Mozambique have signed an agreement under which more electricity will be made available from the coastal nation to plug local supply shortages.

Mozambique’s Foreign Affairs minister, Oldemiro Baloe told journalists yesterday that plans were underway to increase the supplies available to Botswana. Mozambique has generating capacity of 2,200 megawatts, mainly from its hydroelectric Cahora Bassa Dam. The country currently supplies Botswana with under 100 MW.

“We did not go into details on the increase, but we have said as Botswana develops, it will require more energy and there’s that agreement in place and we are ready to sell,” Baloe said in response to Mmegi enquiries.

He added that Mozambique was hoping to partner with Botswana expertise when the country begins its own natural gas exploration in 2020.

Botswana has one of the most advanced natural gas exploration projects and several licences to other active players. Responding to questions on the 1,700 kilometre Ponta Techobanine railway project, Baloe insisted progress was being made and that the project had not been “forgotten”.

The railway, to run from coalfields in Botswana, through Zimbabwe and out to a port in Maputo, was frequently in the headlines a few years ago, as local developers pushed Government for a viable coal export route.

However, despite agreements between the countries, very little progress on the ground has been made. In more recent years, authorities have grown quiet about the project.

Baloe however said it was still planned for. “It has not been forgotten, it’s still on track. The political will to have the project moving is there, but getting resources for such a big project has been difficult.

“Without doubt, there’s a need for the three countries to have this project, but coordination has also been difficult.

“It’s not forgotten, but very complex and highly demanding in terms of finances,” he said.

Baloe is in the country as part of a delegation led by Mozambican President, Filipe Nyusi’s ongoing state visit to Botswana.

Source: Mmegi Online