Infrastructure Changing Lives

»» World-renowned civil engineering and construction company, Mota-Engil, has returned to a key project it was forced to abandon in the 1970s due to the Angolan civil war. In the process, it is not only rebuilding a hugely important and strategic infrastructure point but also changing lives for good.

In the early 1970s, the company began construction of the Calueque Dam on the Cunene River in Angola’s southern Cunene Province. Civil war forced them and many residents to abandon the area as Angola’s MPLA and Namibia’s SWAPO forces battled the South African army aligned to Jonas Savimbi’s UNITA Movement. A complex and protracted war also involving Cuba, Russia and the CIA lasted decades, leaving thousands dead, the area depopulated and the dam itself badly damaged by missile fire and continuous bombardment.

More than 40 years later the telltale signs of the war are visible as our crew visited the area to explore Mota-Engil’s return to the Calueque Dam project. Bullet-ridden houses and burned out military vehicles are easily seen. Yet, since peace was declared people have returned to Calueque, as has Mota-Engil with a 200 million dollar contract awarded to it in 2011 to provide water infrastructure, jobs and hope to the people of the region and beyond.

Join us as we explore the rebuilding of the Calueque Dam. This is an extraordinary story about water, engineering, people and progress – a second-time-around journey that reminds us of the power of infrastructure to change people’s lives for good.