Facebook Twitter email LinkIN YouTube Pinterest

Logo textLogo africa

World-renowned civil engineering and construction company, Mota-Engil, has returned to a key project it was forced to abandon in the 1970’s 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 1970’s 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 war are clearly 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.


  • Calueque Dam bult by Mota-Engil 3
  • Calueque Dam project, Southern Angola 2
  • Calueque Dam, Southern Angola - A Mota-Engil project 3
  • Calueque Dam
  • Calueque child 2
  • Camerman, Jasyn Howes, and director, Jemma Spring, filming at Calueque Dam 1
  • Chicken house at Calueque homestead
  • Crew filming agricultural scene - Water tapped from the Calueque Dam pipeline is used for irrigation in the Calueque area
  • Cunene River, Calueque Dam built by Mota-Engil
  • Filming a school portrait, Calueque Primary School 1
  • Locals in their veggie fields, Calueque Angola
  • Luanda Bay
  • Mota-Engil has set up irrigatiion pipes for local Angolans in Calueque
  • Two local residents reminisce about the war
  • War damage - Calueque region, Angola 5
  • Water tapped from the Calueque Dam pipeline is used for irrigation in the Calueque area 1




Full Story



Vignettes LongLine

S3E10V1 spacer  S3E10V2 spacer S3E10V3
Mota-Engil and the Rehabilitation of Calueque Dam
Global engineering and construction company, Mota-Engil, have returned to a project started almost 40 years ago and halted because of Angola’s civil war.

The Calueque Dam project in the south of the country is providing jobs, upskilling locals and building the infrastructure needed to unlock the country’s vast agricultural potential.
Mota-Engil Returns to Finish the Job
Forced to abandon the Calueque Dam project in 1976 due to civil war, Mota-Engil was given the opportunity, almost 40 later, to return and finish the job.

The dam had been bombed during the war but today it’s about fixing the damage and getting it working at full capacity, with huge benefits for locals and Angola as a whole.
Mota-Engil Providing Easier Access to Water
A 200 million dollar public-private partnership project is underway in the south of Angola. Mota-Engil is rebuilding the Calueque Dam, and Manuel Vapor is one of the local residents who has benefited from its employment and upskilling program as a specialist truck driver.

Manuel and his family, along with other local farmers, are also enjoying easier access to water for their crops and cattle because of the project.