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Construction of the grand Inga Dam to commence in 2015

August 2013
CONSTRUCTION OF the much-awaited Grand Inga hydropower station in the Democratic Republic of Congo is expected to start in October 2015. The Inga project has the capacity to generate more than 40,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity, enough to meet the bulk of the power needs of the SADC region. DRC and South Africa are implementing the power project together with other cooperating partners.

Initially, the construction of the hydropower station was to be implemented through a regional development approach involving five other SADC countries namely Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland and South Africa in what was dubbed the Western Power Corridor (WESTCOR) project.

However, due to various challenges, the WESTCOR project failed to materialize. DRC and South Africa announced at their recent meeting that “the first foundation stone” of the power station will be laid in October 2015. The construction is expected to be done in different phases.

The first phase will involve construction of Inga 3 Low-Head, which will have a capacity of 1,800MW and does not require damming of the Congo River. The next phase – called the Inga 3 High-Head – will add an additional 3,000MW and involves construction of the Grand Inga Dam. Five other hydropower plants are expected to be built on the same dam, eventually raising its cumulative capacity to about 40,000 MW.

When completed, the Grand Inga would surpass the Three Gorges hydroelectric project of China as the largest hydropower project in the world. Funding for the Grand Inga project is coming from a number of investors that include the African Development Bank, World Bank, French Development Agency, European Investment Bank and Development Bank of Southern Africa.