Saturday, April 18, 2009

Electricity Mozambique

Electricity production and availability in Mozambique is very cloudy one to analyze.

On one hand Mozambique seems to be producing more than she is consuming, and if that is the case, then things are very good. In 2008, the electricity production was about 14000 Megawatt-hours, while the consumption was only about 10000 Megawatt-hour. That is a net production of 4000 Megawatt-hours, which on the surface is fantastic. But rural electrification is laughable if not pathetic. If you live in the capital Maputo, then your chances of getting electricity is very good, but move beyond 25 kilometers, and you will be in the dark.

Mozambique, like Ghana (Bui dam) and Republic of Congo (Grand Inga) for starters, the Chinese 800 pound gorilla has entrenched itself with loan for my favorite green (hydro) at Mphanda Nkuwa. This dam is displacing a large segment of the rural population; however, Maputo has taken the position that only those in the immediate area of the dam would be compensated.
Folks, how do you decide who is in the immediate area of a dam and who is not? For the record, a dam is built by dropping one rock or stone at a time. As the rock and the stones pile (saddle dam) up, they tend to hold back the water, thereby creating a reservoir. The higher the saddle, the high the level of water would be, and the more acreage it would cover. The first village to be displaced would be less than a mile away form the saddle, but the last village could be 50 miles or more.

Folks, the idea of the dam is grand and noble, lets give them a hand for that, but the idea of limiting who gets compensation is repugnant if not atrocious.
For the record, Mozambique is one of the poorest countries on the continent of Africa. Corruption is part of this landscape like any of the countries we have visited with this blog, and until that is toned down or eradicated, Mozambique will still be in the dark 10 years from now.

I am tempted to say there are more cheetahs in this reservation than hippos, or probably as many cheetahs as hippos, but the disease of corruption has made the hippos outnumber the cheetahs.