The World Bank has recently approved US$73.1-million grant to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for the Inga 3 Basse Chute (BC) and Mid-size Hydropower Development Technical Assistance Project, reports from Washington said.
With the potential for 40 000 MegaWatts, Inga is the world’s largest hydropower site, and can supply almost the whole of Africa with electricity, experts said. With an estimated generation cost of US$ 0.03/kWh, it also is one of the most affordable sources of energy in Africa, the World Bank said.
However, only 9% of the country’s population of 80 million has access to electricity due to decades of under-investment, state corruption, dubious and failed policies, and lack of reforms and political will.
DRC’s overall hydropower potential is estimated at 100 gigawatts (GW), the third largest in the world, behind China and Russia, reports said, but only 2.5% has been developed.
Now the World Bank has given the government of Joseph Kabila a lifeline to fix Inga 3 and therefore give its poorest people something to smile about.
While life in the capital city Kinshasa is vibrant during the day, at night this fast-growing city of 10 million looks like a haunted house ruled by ghosts, where darkness settles and makes it difficult to see a thing or someone at 100 metres.
The World Bank said that the technical assistance project will finance in a flexible manner a series of environmental, institutional, social and technical studies that will guide sustainable development of the Inga 3 BC and selected mid-size hydropower projects, with the ultimate goal of bringing more electricity to millions of people who currently have no access.