African finance and energy ministers have agreed to fast-track rehabilitation and further development of the Inga hydroelectric complex, among other energy sector infrastructure, to help reduce poverty on the continent.
African ministers joined with international development agencies May 30-31 in Accra to focus on feasible options for addressing financing needs of Africa’s energy sector. In a statement issued at the end of the conference, the ministers recognized the constraints imposed on economic growth by the persistent international energy crisis.
�At the regional and international levels, participants undertook to fast-track current regional initiatives such as the Inga dam project, the regional power pools, and gas pipeline projects,� a report by the participating African Development Bank said. �They also promised to make efforts at strengthening regional institutions such as the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development) as the arrowheads of regional action, adding that they would explore the possibility so ceding limited borrowing authority to RECs to implement trans-boundary energy projects.�
The World Bank approved a US$296.7 million grant May 29 to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for rehabilitation of the Inga hydroelectric complex on the Congo River. (HNN 5/30/07)
Currently, the 350-MW Inga 1 and 1,424-MW Inga 2 hydro plants produce a total of only 500 MW due to lack of maintenance. 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 to a target capacity of 40,000 MW.
�There cannot be a better project with a continental reach and infrastructural support for development than this,� Ghana President John Agyekum Kufuor, chairman of the African Union, said of Inga in closing remarks.
He said African countries would not be able to overcome poverty individually, and therefore, the African Union has endorsed using the NEPAD initiative to mobilize resources for critical projects.