KINSHASA — The US will consider financing part of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s $12bn Inga 3 hydropower project, Rajiv Shah, the head of the US Agency for International Development, said on Monday.
The US may add the project to a $7bn US government energy programme known as Power Africa, Mr Shah said by phone from Kinshasa, where he is meeting Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponyo and Energy Minister Bruno Kapandji.
He was to visit Inga on the Congo River yesterday. Congo was not included in the original Power Africa list of six sub-Saharan countries.
The world’s largest economy is working with General Electric and other companies to add 10,000MW in sub-Saharan Africa in the first five years of the programme, President Barack Obama said in June. Companies will contribute about $9bn in funding to Power Africa. More than two-thirds of Africa’s population does not have access to power.
The 4,800MW project on the Congo River is the next step in developing the Grand Inga site, which may eventually be the world’s largest hydropower producer.
SA will receive 2,500MW of power while copper miners in Congo’s Katanga province will take 1,300MW once Inga 3 is completed. The remaining 1,000MW will be for domestic use.
Grand Inga, which may eventually include eight separate dams, will probably produce more than 40,000MW of power.
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.
Congo’s energy ministry wanted to choose a group by July and was open to other companies joining the current groups, Mr Kapandji said in October.