Bank’s regional initiatives to include DRC’s Inga hydro

An official of the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) infrastructure unit says the bank plans to assist regional energy projects including the Inga hydroelectric complex in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

AfDB Infrastructure Consortium Africa Coordinator Alex Rugamba told the South Africa government’s BuaNews that the bank would work with other international financial institutions to support the development of regional energy projects in southern Africa. Rugamba said AfDB, the World Bank, and European Investment Bank are helping prepare regional projects for investment and are mobilizing resources.

BuaNews said projects earmarked for investment include Inga, currently comprising the 350-MW Inga 1 and 1,424-MW Inga 2 hydro plants that produce a total of only 500 MW due to lack of maintenance. (HNN 6/5/07) The plants are the keystone of a proposal by DRC and its neighbors to invest up to US$40 billion to expand the Inga complex on the Congo River to a target capacity of 40,000 MW. (HNN 6/20/07)

Other projects include the Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya transmission interconnector project and other regional power pool transmission interconnections in the western and eastern Africa. (HNN 6/29/07)

Rugamba said bank investment in the energy and transport sectors is aimed at improving the competitiveness of regional economies and supporting market integration programs. He said most of the projects currently are under preparation for investment.

African finance and energy ministers agreed in May to fast-track rehabilitation and further development of the Inga hydroelectric complex, among other energy sector infrastructure, to help reduce poverty on the continent.

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