- A consortium dominated by China has been formed to implement the development of the proposed 11,050 MW Inga III hydropower project on the Congo River in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
- The consortium is made up of six Chinese companies led by the China Three Gorges Corp, and AEE Power Holdingsfrom Madrid, Spain.
- The announcement was made by ADPI-RDC, the Agency for the Development and Promotion of the Grand Inga site.
The six Chinese companies in the consortium have a total 75% stake in the project while the Spanish company AEE Power Holdings has a 25% share. The latter will retain this shareholding in the future special purpose vehicle that will be set up to develop and ensure the financial mobilization for the realization of this project.
The USD 14 billion project includes the construction of two dams plus transmission infrastructure that extends beyond the country’s borders with the view to export power. A deal was struck with South Africa in 2013 to supply about 2.5GW of electricity through the SAPP power lines, and Nigeria and Angola in the western region of Africa are also expected to benefit from the project.
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It is also expected to contribute to the realization of the NEPAD objectives of increased power interconnections across Africa as well as help stabilize the political conditions in the African countries involved through cross-border cooperation in the continent and beyond.
Hydropower companies have targeted the Inga river for decades. The country commissioned two disastrous, corruption-laden projects in 1972 and 1982: Inga 1 and Inga 2. These projects displaced thousands, destroyed livelihoods and impoverished generations while plunging the country into debt. The dams never generated the power promised: 84% of Congolese people still lack access to electricity. But the debacle inspired a civil society movement that demands reparations for displaced residents as well as just energy transition.
Author: Bryan Groenendaal