Congo tells consortia to form joint bid for Inga 3 hydro project
Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday asked Chinese and Spanish consortia vying to develop a long-delayed $14-billion hydroelectric project to join together and submit a single bid.
The statement represents a new delay for the Inga 3 project, which has struggled to attract financing. Last May, the government announced plans to select a developer by October 2016 and begin construction this month.
The World Bank announced it had suspended funding for Inga 3 last July after the presidency took control of the project from the prime minister’s office, raising concerns about transparency .
A brief statement from the presidency gave no reason for the latest decision, which affects the China Three Gorges Corporation and a consortium that includes engineering giant Actividades de Construccion y Servicios SA .
The project along the Congo River will expand on two existing Inga hydroelectric dams and is part of an eight-stage Grand Inga project that would produce a record 44 000 MW at an estimated cost of $50-billion to $80-billion.
Proponents say it could one day power half of Africa. Critics say the money would be better spent supporting smaller local plants.
“The two consortiums have been invited … to do everything possible to form a single group before submitting an optimised bid,” said a statement from the presidency.
Of Inga 3’s 4 800 MW, 2 500 MW will be sold to South Africaand 1 300 MW is earmarked for Congo’s mining sector. The remaining 1 000 MW will go toward meeting domestic demand in a country where less than 15% of the population has electricity.