Consultants sought to advance Congo Republic’s 1,000-MW Sounda Gorge hydro project

The World Bank invites expressions of interest from technical, environmental and electricity market consultants to advance development of the 400- to 1,000-MW Sounda Gorge hydroelectric project in the Congo Republic (CR). Responses to three solicitations are due March 11 and 17.

The Congo Republic is preparing a pipeline of major infrastructure projects to be developed on a public-private partnership basis, including a large hydro project, most likely at Sounda Gorge. It also has been rehabilitating infrastructure including hydroelectric projects since its 1999 civil war.

The government originally approved a deal in 2006 for Old Mutual Properties, a division of South African insurance giant Old Mutual, to finance building Sounda Gorge in Kouilou Department and the 600-MW Chollet hydro project in Sangha Department. CR completed the 120-MW Imboulou hydro project on the Lefini River in 2011 and recommissioned the 74-MW Moukoukoulou hydro project on the Bouenza River in 2007.

The CR government and the bank’s International Finance Corp. (IFC) agreed in February that IFC would serve as lead transaction adviser to develop the Sounda Gorge project on a public-private partnership basis. IFC is to develop a detailed implementation plan and budget for the project prior to negotiating a financial advisory services agreement.

A pre-feasibility study performed in the 1950s concluded a hydro project built on the Kouilou and Niari rivers at Sounda Gorge could total up to 1,000 MW. However, the eventual capacity will depend on financing and likely environmental and social effects of the dam and reservoir. The government plans to examine one or more alternative sites upstream and downstream of Sounda Gorge before deciding the precise project location.

IFC plans to appoint a series of external consultants for the Sounda Gorge project including an engineering and technical consultant, environmental and social consultant, market consultant and legal consultant. While it is procuring the services now, the appointments are conditioned on signing of the financial advisory services agreement with the CR government.

The World Bank now invites expressions of interest by March 11 to serve as engineering and technical consultant (No. 1136265), by March 17 to serve as environmental and social consultant (No. 1136269), and by March 17 to serve as market consultant (No. 1136270). It said submissions for one position do not preclude firms from filing for the other consultancy assignments. A solicitation for the legal consultant is expected soon.

Expressions of interest for the engineering and technical, and environmental and social consultants are to include experience in hydro projects exceeding 100 MW anywhere in the world and major infrastructure projects in sub-Saharan Africa, French-speaking Africa and the Congo Republic. Market consultants are to have experience in determining electricity demand at both national and regional levels and of creating a demand profile for individual independent power producers. Applicants are to confirm their ability to work in both French and English simultaneously.

Expressions of interest and attachments totaling less than 5 megabytes are to be submitted in English, electronically via the World Bank’s eConsult Internet site, Solicitation notices are available on the website under Business Opportunities, and the solicitation numbers listed above.

The bank intends to invite short-lists of firms to submit proposals, subject to availability of funding.

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