Angolan leader opens nation's largest hydro plant

Jose Eduardo dos Santos (AFP)
Jose Eduardo dos Santos (AFP)

Luanda - Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who steps down from office at the end of this month, on Friday officially opened the country's largest hydro-electric dam.

Being built by Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht at an estimated cost of $4.3bn, it is designed to produce 2 070 megawatts and aims to reduce power outages in Angola, a major oil producer.

It will be one of the most powerful plants on the African continent and the first two of six turbines on the Lauca hydroelectric dam, built on the Kwanza River, were switched on Friday.

It is the third dam built on the Kwanza and should be fully operational by next year.

Dos Santos appeared in good health but did not speak, according to footage shown on public television.

The 74-year-old leader, in power since 1979, has in recent months been dogged by health rumours.

Dos Santos will not contest the August 23 general election, which his MPLA party looks likely to win. Defence Minister Joao Lourenco has emerged as Dos Santos's chosen successor.

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