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DRC’S INGA DAM: South Africa Makes A Case For Hydropower Using Mega Project At Paris Indaba

The presidents of the Republic of Congo and South Africa at the new global financing pact in Paris asked world leaders present to invest in the Inga Dam electrification project.

The South African president added that multilateral development banks present at the summit could actually fund the project and develop several power stations from the dam.

Mr Ramaphosa noted that the dam project would be one of the most important outcomes of the reform of the financial architecture being called for, adding that he believes the project will add a lot of value.

“… let us get that done and then we will be convinced that you are serious with the promises that you make,” he said.

Echoing the desire of his Congo counterpart, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa speaking at the closing ceremony of the summit said, “ to prove that this summit is not a summit where we just talk, flowing from the Paris COP as well as others, let us now put money on the table and collectively say we are going to address this mega project; a mega project which will, in the end, generate electricity for up to 12 to 15 African countries.”

He noted that he was speaking in support of President Denis Nguesso of Congo who had earlier mentioned it at the heads of state dinner.

Mr Ramaphosa said if something as practical as funding the electrification of the Inga Dam which according to him could generate up to 70,000 megawatts, Africans will now be convinced that these summits are really meaningful.

“We will now go home and say you know what, it is worthwhile going to these summits, coming to Europe and listening to all the promises because they are willing to act on their promises,” he said.

According to International Rivers, the Grand Inga is the world’s largest proposed hydropower scheme. It is the centrepiece of a grand vision to develop Africa’s power system.

It is the fourth and largest of a series of dams that have been built or are proposed for the lower end of the Congo River in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

The Grand Inga will generate 40, 000 MW, and will be constructed in 6 phases of which the Inga III Dam is the first phase. Power generated from the dam would be double the capacity of the largest dam in the world, the Three Gorges Dam in China.

Ms Malo agrees that financial incentives will help the completion of the project but warns that the sensitivity of the region must be taken into consideration given the country’s history of corruption, political instability and exploitation.

Financial interventions should be smart and accountability be demanded in the implementation of the project, she said.

Ms Malo asked the African Development Bank and any other financial institution not to finance this project until the existing dams are fully operational and a plan for maintaining the dams and transmission systems is in place.

“…until a full analysis of how the dams will affect the Congo Plume has been completed and reviewed by climate experts; and until a binding legal agreement detailing compensation between the government of the DRC and communities displaced by Inga I and II is renegotiated.”

However, when successfully implemented, the project will contribute immensely to the energy security of the DRC, and the continent as a whole and contribute greatly to rural electrification and regional economic cooperation.

“The Inga dam has more benefits than downsides and should be leveraged in increasing access to power in Africa,” Ms Malo said.

CREDIT: Premium Times Nigeria

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