Kinshasa - The US would consider financing some of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC’s) $12 billion (R123bn) Inga 3 hydroelectric project, Rajiv Shah, the head of the US Agency for International Development, said yesterday.
The US might add the project to a $7 billion US government energy programme known as Power Africa, Shah said by phone from Kinshasa, where he was meeting DRC Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponyo and Energy Minister Bruno Kapandji.
Shah was due to visit Inga on the Congo River yesterday. The DRC was not included in the original Power Africa list of six sub-Saharan countries.
The US was working with General Electric and other companies to add 10 000 megawatts of capacity in sub-Saharan Africa in the first five years of the programme, President Barack Obama said in June. Companies would contribute about $9bn in funding.
More than two-thirds of Africa’s population does not have access to power.
The 4 800MW Inga 3 project on the Congo River is the next step in developing the Grand Inga site, which may eventually be the world’s largest hydroelectric producer, according to the DRC’s government.
South Africa will receive 2 500MW of power while copper producers in the DRC’s Katanga province will take 1 300MW once Inga 3 is completed. The remaining 1 000MW will be for domestic use. Grand Inga will probably produce more than 40 000MW of power through eight separate dams.
The current groups bidding for Inga 3 are made up of China Three Gorges and Sinohydro; Posco and Daewoo of South Korea in partnership with Canada’s SNC-Lavalin Group; and Spain’s Actividades de Construccion y Servicios and Eurofinsa Group.
The DRC’s Energy Ministry wanted to choose a group by July next year and was open to other companies joining the current groups, Kapandji said in October. – Bloomberg