AfDB Renews Support to the Inga Hydro-power Project in DRC

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group and the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) signed two grant agreements for a total of US $5.250 million in Marrakech on the sidelines of the AfDB Annual Meetings. Initialed by the AfDB First Vice-President, Emmanuel Mbi, and DRC’s Deputy Finance Minister, Patrice Kitebi, the two grants are intended to provide technical assistance for the development of the Inga hydro-power plant located on the banks of the Congo River. The grants fall within the framework of the Fragile States Facility (FSF).

Playing a key role in the development process of the Inga 3 project (a dam designed to strengthen Inga 1 and 2), the two grants will help in the commencement of the crucial phase of preparing institutional and technical plans. At the institutional level, part of the grant will help finance a national and permanent structure for the promotion and development of Inga’s hydro-electric potential. At the technical level, the resources will be used to provide the country with legal and strategic advisers as part of efforts to create a public-private partnership for the development of the first phase of the Grand Inga (Inga 3). The consulting services provided to the DRC Government are already significant.

This new AfDB support is a continuation of the institution’s many and varied actions undertaken since 2008 to help the DRC government to develop Inga’s vast hydro-electric potential, estimated at 44,000 MW. It follows the provision of over US $15 million to finance a feasibility study which defined the development pattern of the Grand Inga by successive phases, with the first named Inga 3. The first step focuses on the installation of an estimated capacity of 4,800 MW – that is, slightly more than Croatia’s energy capacity in 2010.

The implementation of Inga 3 could benefit not only the DRC, but also many neighbouring countries, including South Africa. This project will increase access rate to more reliable and cheaper energy in the DRC, leading to an increase from the current 9% to over 40% in 2020. It is also expected to improve the business climate and productivity of the economies of beneficiary countries, thereby promoting regional integration and more green growth, since it will help to avoid significant greenhouse gas emissions.

Patrice Kitebi hailed AfDB’s interest in DRC’s development which has resulted in the financing of major projects across the country with a portfolio currently estimated at more than US $750 million. “This ceremony is the culmination of regional integration,” the Minister said.

The AfDB intends once more to commit to Inga. The technical assistance, valued at some US $65 million and funded by the African Development Fund (ADF), is expected soon. It will ensure the completion of preparatory actions undertaken and will also help in addressing problems of electricity access in remote areas which are not directly covered by Inga, where the DRC intends to develop electrical systems around micro- or mini-hydro-power plants.

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