The Grand Inga Dam hydroelectric project in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is showing signs of coming back to life. This is after the project was discussed at the African Union Extraordinary summit which was held in Niger.
The Grand Inga Dam project
The Inga project is estimated to produce 40000MW. This is enough to provide power to nearly half of the continent. It has been proposed for over 10 years but lack of political will and possible corruption has prevented the project from reaching its full potential.
Since 1972, only phase one and phase two in 1982, of the project have been in existence and operational. Together they generate almost 1800MW.
The grand Inga is suggested to be constructed in six phases. Inga three will be the first phase in the project. An agreement was signed between South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Angola with DRC, about 10 years ago in order to develop the Inga three project and provide transmission of the power it produces through the Western corridor.
Approximately Inga three was to cost about US $14bn. However in 2013, a side deal by South Africa and the DRC sidelined the rest of the Southern African countries which led to an interruption of the project. However the meeting held at the African Union Extraordinary summit gave some little hope that the project could be revived.
The Grand Inga Dam is the world’s largest suggested hydropower scheme. It is the cornerstone of a grand vision to help a continent-wide power system. It is predicted that about US $80bn could be enough to develop the project. This will include placing of transmission lines across the continent.
Developing energy resources
Amani Abou-Zeid, AU’s Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, did not go into details about the Grand Inga Dam project when asked about it but she said that Africa needs to develop its energy resources. “It is very important that we develop all the energy resources into useful projects. Grand Inga is a priority because Africa needs a lot of megawatts as it proceeds to its industrial phase,” she affirmed.
She also added that consultations will be made financial partners in order to realize this dream.