Congo to delay Inga 3 hydroelectric project
The Democratic Republic of Congo has recently made a statement that the Inga 3hydro-electric project is not yet expected to start producing power as originally planned in 2020 or 2021 but until 2024 or 2025.
The 4 800 MW project worth $14BN has struggled to attract financing. Last year it received a major blow when the World Bank announced it had suspended funding after the presidency took control of the project, raising transparency concerns. Early in June this year, Congo asked one consortium, the final bidders – led by China Three Gorges Corporation and another that includes Spain’s Actividades de Construccion y Servicios SA – to submit a joint bid.
Bruno Kapandji, the head of the government agency overseeing development of Inga 3, said they are working towards 2024 or 2025 now that they have identified the potential developer. The project along the Congo River is expected to expand on two existing Inga hydroelectric dams which is part of an eight-stage Grand Inga project that would produce a record 44 000 MW at an estimated cost of about $50BN to $80BN.
Its proponents say it could power half of Africa in the future. However, critics argue that the money would rather be spent supporting smaller local plants. The project’s future seems clouded by the political situation in Congo, which has contributed greatly to growing insecurity, an increase in militia violence and escalating prison breaks.
Of the 4 800 MW, 2 500 MW are set aside for South Africa, the other 1 300 MW will support Congo’s mining sector and the remaining 1 000 MW will be directed towards meeting the domestic power demand. On average only 15% of Congo’s population has electricity.